35% Malkangiri children undernourished: AHS report

Bhubaneswar: Nagada, a remote hamlet in industrially progressive Jajpur district might have left the nation shocking after 19 children died in July this year due to malnutrition, but the health indicator in Malkangiri district is no better. According to Annual Health Survey (AHS) report, 35% children of below five years in Malkangiri district are undernourished.

The report showed, of the 100 districts surveyed, Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh reported the highest level of undernourishment with 48.7%, followed by Shabiganj (44.1%) and Gumla (40.2%) districts of Jharkhand.

It further said the Odisha district ranked 15th on child wasting and 3rd on child underweight among 100 districts of Empowered Action Group (EAG) states. In India, the eight socioeconomically backward states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh, referred to as the EAG states, lag behind in the demographic transition and have the highest infant mortality rates in the country.

According to the report, the economically backward district, currently in news for the outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) which has already claimed lives of 17 children, showed very low levels of full immunization at 29.6 per cent. Cases of no immunization were highest in Uttar Pradesh (7.6 per cent) and the lowest in Odisha (0.8 per cent), it noted.

In list of 100 districts with highest prevalence of underweight in age group 18-59 years, 3rd, 4th and 5th position have been occupied by Malkangiri, Nabarangpur and Kalahandi respectively.

It said Kalahandi (47.7%, rural undernourishment 50.1%) stands 7th in list of 100 districts with highest percentage of undernourished population.