Staff Reporter

Need to check malnutrition trend immediately stressed

BHUBANESWAR: Orissa, which has the poorest health indicators in the country with very high levels of mortality, morbidity and malnutrition, needs to do away with ‘inequities’ in its health sector such as disparities among rural-urban population, social groups and regions.

A study that incorporated almost all the aspects of health policy of the State called for mainstreaming equity in future health sector plans. A draft copy of the study, ‘Health Challenges in Orissa’, which was prepared by Human Development Foundation (HDF), a voluntary organisation, was circulated among health thinkers and doctors heading different wings here.

Infant mortality

Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is only 53 per 1,000 live births in urban areas as compared to 76 in rural areas, only 26.4 per cent of tribal children are immunised when compared to 43.7 per cent among the general population in the State and anaemia is very high of 61.2 per cent among women.

“Steps such as decentralisation of health sector, micro-planning, participatory approach and community monitoring have become inescapable necessary,” lead researcher Almas Ali said at the State-level consultation.

The State needed to arrest the malnutrition trend as early as possible. “The level of malnutrition in the State is quite high. Over 30 per cent of children are severely malnourished. As per the latest survey, 40.7 per cent under age of 3 are underweight, 45 per cent are stunted and 19.5 per cent are wasted. About 65 per cent of children aged between 6 and 35 months are anaemic,” Dr. Ali pointed out.