Malnutrition brewing in closed tea gardens

Twenty-five children suffering from severe malnutrition and low weight from the five closed tea gardens of north Bengal have been admitted to State-run hospitals in Jalpaiguri district. All the children are below five years of age and from the tea gardens which have been rocked by deaths due to malnutrition over the past few weeks.

“The children have been identified on the basis of survey conducted by the State Health Department. We are providing them extra food and their mothers are allowed to stay with them,” Jagannath Sarkar, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Jalpaiguri told The Hindu over telephone.

Dr Sarkar said that after the children become healthy and put on weight they will be released from the State's health centre.

After the reports of deaths due to malnutrition came to the fore, a survey was conducted in the closed tea gardens of the region. As many as 34 children were identified and 25 of them have been admitted in the hospitals.

“The parents of the remaining nine children refused to get their children admitted,” said Debdas Biswas, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Officer in Jalpaiguri.

He added that the children who have not been admitted are being provided nutritional support at their homes

While 10 children have been admitted to Jalpaiguri district hospital 10 are admitted to Saptibadi Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre. The remaining five are in Birpara State General Hospital.

The State government has conducted survey of six closed tea gardens -- Dheklapara Tea Garden, Bandapani Tea Garden, Red Bank Tea Garden, Raipur Tea Estate, Surendranagar Tea Estate and Daranipur Tea Estate. Deaths of workers at Raipur Tea Estate and Bandapani Tea Garden were reported by The Hindu.

When the first round of survey was carried out by the State government in Raipur Tea Estate, 11 children were identified with malnutrition. They have been transferred to the hospital as a safety measure.

Mr Biswas said that though the 34 children did not have any disease, yet it has been found that adults in the closed tea gardens suffer from tuberculosis. One of the reasons was that workers in the closed tea gardens are addicted to country liquor.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 11:36:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/malnutrition-brewing-in-closed-tea-gardens/article6244166.ece

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