Temporary centre established to fight malnutrition

- Harihar Singh Rathaur, Dhading

Feb 15, 2015-

A temporary nutrition centre has been established at Simthali, Mahadevsthan VDC, in the district after a recent health survey conducted by a local NGO showed that around 600 children from Chepang community in 10 VDCs in the area were suffering from malnutrition.

According to the survey, more than 250 children aged six months to three years in Mahadevsthan alone were found suffering from extreme malnutrition. Among them,

82 are categorised as “critically under-fed”. Earlier, the NGO—Prayas Nepal—had also sent half a dozen extremely undernourished children to the Capital and treated them for months.

Damodar Aryal, executive director of Prayas Nepal, said the temporary nutrition centre was set up a week ago after two extremely malnourished children died while undergoing treatment. He said they plan to establish such centres in other VDCs as well.

Smriti Tamang, a social facilitator, said nutritional diet is provided to children and their mothers at the centre. She said local women, who come to the centre with various locally available food items such as wheat, maize, millet, rice, green vegetables along with firewood, are trained to prepare nutritional food.

According to Sunmaya Chepang, 20, who visits the centre with her four under-nourished children on a daily basis, the programme has been very effective as they get to learn about the importance of proper nutrition. She said the programme has helped them prepare balanced diet with locally available food items.

The practice of early marriage in the Chepang community owing to illiteracy,

poverty and lack of awareness has been identified as the primary factor behind the problem. Though a health post is established in Taltibazaar, Chepang women rarely visit the facility for regular check-ups during their pregnancy or after child birth.

An estimated 18,260 Chepang households live in the 10 VDCs, including Jogimara, Dhusha, Maha-devsthan and Benighat.

Published: 16-02-2015 08:50

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