NHRC notice to Haryana on child malnutrition

The National Human Rights Commission on Tuesday took suo motu cognisance of media reports of severe malnutrition among children in Haryana’s Karnal, Yamuna Nagar, Panchkula and Ambala districts. It issued notices to the authorities in the State, observing that it constituted a violation of the children’s human rights.

‘Alarming situation’

Reports quoting a study of the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, stated that the four districts in Haryana had an “alarming situation” of malnutrition among children.

While 37.4 per cent of children were found to be underweight, 42.8 per cent suffered from stunted growth and 17.5 per cent from wasting. Ninety-five per cent of the children in Karnal were found to be anaemic. The reports also quoted Rakesh Gupta, Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission, as saying that children with severe acute malnutrition were nine times more likely to die than well-nourished children. In Haryana, 53 per cent of deaths under the age of five were due to malnutrition. The NHRC asked the Director, PGI Chandigarh, to submit the detailed study referred to in the media reports.

It also issued a notice to the Haryana government’s Principal Secretary (Health), calling upon him to submit a report in connection with the matter. Both have been given six weeks to file their response.

‘37.4 per cent of children were found to be underweight and 42.8 per cent suffered from stunted growth’

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