The Rajasthan government has identified around 4,300 children aged between 6 months to 5 years with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and in need of medical or supplementary intervention.Of the 12 lakh children screened so far in a first-ever survey of the age-group, the largest number of SAM children have been identified in Baran district where the number is close to 600, followed by Pali at 478 and Chittorgarh where the number is 370. The lowest number of children with SAM occurs in Jhunjhunu and Barmer with 2 and 5 respectively.
Even in Jaipur district, 50 cases of SAM were detected from among the one lakh children screened. A database of all such cases is being maintained for follow-up.
“While the survey is an ongoing process, from data received from across the State from over 12 lakh children who were screened between December 18, 2014 and January 8, as many as 4,296 were identified as severely malnourished and categorised as SAM,” Neeraj K. Pawan, additional Mission Direction, National Health Mission told The Hindu .
There is a huge cohort of approximately 85 lakh children in the age group of 6 months to below 5 years in Rajasthan and the government intends to screen all these children. “Screening will be an ongoing exercise since there may be many who would be healthy at the time of screening and may subsequently slip into the SAM category or vice versa,” Mr. Pawan said.
Once identified, SAM children can be given two kinds of intervention. In the case of malnourished children who are not sick, just supplements or nutritious food at home can bring them out of malnourishment. However, malnourished children who are physically sickly are referred to the Malnutrition Treatment Centre (MTC) for necessary treatment.
All districts in the State have at least one 10 bed MTC and more than two 6 bed MTCs where severe cases of malnutrition are treated.