From 1990 – 2017, Malnutrition deaths still haunt Odisha!

Registrar General of India's latest report shows as many as six children had died prematurely due to malnutrition in the State in 2017

Bhubaneswar: Even as the Odisha government last year claimed on the floor of the House that not a single child  died of malnutrition in between 2016 and 2017, the revelation is Odisha did record child malnutrition deaths in 2017.

As many as six children had died prematurely due to malnutrition in the State.

This was revealed in the recently released report titled  Medically Certified Cause of Death (MCCD) by the Registrar General of India (RGI).

As per RGI’s MCCD report, six children in Odisha died of malnutrition related diseases like Kwashiorkor, Nutritional Marasmus and other similar disease conditions.

What is Kwashiorkor and Nutritional Marasmus?  Kwashiorkor is a type of malnutrition that occurs when there is not enough protein in the diet. It affects children in places plagued by limited food supply or famines. And Nutritional Marasmus is typically observed in infants who are on breastfeeding and when the amount of milk is markedly reduced, which in turn then reflects the prevalence of maternal malnutrition.

However, the real scenario in the State could be more grave as the Odisha government in the State Assembly had admitted to the fact that as many as 26,184 children in State are suffering from malnutrition and fall in the severely underweight category in year 2018.

Significantly, RGI has also expressed dissatisfaction as cause of mere 11.7 per cent deaths annually were being certified in the State, Odisha figured among the bottom states nationally. “More medical certifications could only bring the real enormity of any disease to the fore,” the report observed.

Moreover, when the State Women and Child Development department data shows children suffering from malnutrition is highest in Kalahandi (3,114), followed by Kandhamal (2,887) in 2018,  district headquarters hospital sources in Kandhamal and Kalahandi informed that nearly 3,500 children had died there of malnutrition during the last half-decade.

Even, the India Health of Nation and States – 2017 (IHNS-17) report had rated malnutrition, especially child and maternal, as the number one risk factor in driving most of the deaths and disabilities in the State.

In fact, the report further stated Odisha recorded a whopping 69 per cent of deaths prematurely among all the age groups.

As per the IHNS-17 report, in 1990s, when malnutrition contributed a high of over 35 per cent of the DALY (Disability Adjusted Life Years) lost in Odisha, the DALYs lost owing to malnutrition dropped to 12.7 per cent in 2016-17, but still the highest contributor to DALYs lost in the State.

As per the report, malnutrition affects women more than men in Odisha as women lose nearly 14 per cent of their life-years or live with disability against 12 per cent for men. And under-5 year children lost nearly 1.8 per cent of life-years owing to nutritional disorders.