The state of administrative insensitivity in the matter of hunger and starvation in the country is that the system works its own way despite the intervention of the Supreme Court.
Every year children die from disease and lack of food, but there is no one to take care of them. This is the reason why, once again, the Bombay High Court has to intervene in the matter of malnutrition. The High Court has summoned the collector of Nandurbar tribal district of Maharashtra in the face of increasing number of child and maternal deaths. The High Court is hearing a PIL filed in 2007 regarding the deaths of several children, pregnant women and nursing mothers due to malnutrition in the tribal areas of the state.
In fact, 411 people have died in Nandurbar district since January 2022, of which 86 children have died due to malnutrition and lack of medical facilities. During this time it also emerged that due to the lack of good roads in the area, there is a problem of access to medical care.
Not just Nandurbar in Maharashtra, but from Thane and Palghar, adjacent to the country’s financial capital, Mumbai, to Amravati and Nagpur in Vidarbha, deaths due to malnutrition and undernutrition are continuously brought to the fore.
According to the Malnutrition Report 2021-22, 1,531 children in Maharashtra’s Thane district are moderately malnourished, while 122 children were found to be severely malnourished.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajit Pawar had visited Melghat in Amravati district last month. During this he reviewed the malnutrition situation in Melghat. Melghat has been in the news for the death of thousands of children due to starvation in the last three decades. During his visit, Ajit Pawar met the families of the malnourished children and inquired about the health facilities there.
If seen, about 15,253 cases of malnutrition among children have been reported in 16 districts of Maharashtra in the last three years. More than six thousand children have died in this. All these 16 districts are tribal dominated areas.
In fact, the stories of Nandurbar and Melghat show that hunger is one of the leading causes of child death. On the other hand, the system of government to deal with hunger is sometimes becoming a big obstacle. That’s because he doesn’t realize what hunger is! The desire for food makes one feel hungry, but in tribal areas no child dies of hunger in a day. How is it that due to the release of hormones from the hypothalamus, the appetite must have increased, there must have been contractions in the intestines, to have been more hungry for many days, then there must have been hunger somewhere and the boy’s body would have turned into a skeleton.
The views of the tribal areas are beautiful only as long as you are not sick, once your health deteriorates, even after running seventy-seven kilometers, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get out of these forests safely! It is a hilly forest, where the tribals have to travel miles to save their lives for any small need, without any motorbike.
The views of the tribal areas are beautiful only as long as you are not sick, once your health deteriorates, even after running seventy-seven kilometers, there is no guarantee that you can get out of these forests safely! It is a hilly forest, where the tribals have to travel miles to save their lives for any small need, without any motorbike.
On the other hand, in the Melghat area dominated by the Satpura hill tribes of Maharashtra, 20 years ago today, in the name of tiger settlement, a resettlement plan was made for them by displacing many villages. But, the rehabilitation in the face of displacements extending to the size of the camel proved to be equal to the cumin in a camel’s mouth. In independent India, the Korku tribe was attacked one after another and their forest life cut off. Because of this, their livelihood was taken away. They became useless and the food crisis arose before them. As a result, this entire area was starved.
Plans to reduce malnutrition are also often discussed. The question is, how did the government forget its goal when the government started the Integrated Child Development Plan on October 2, 1975 through the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare to eliminate malnutrition and hunger. The aim is to consider why public health indicators cannot be achieved even after more than four decades of implementation of these schemes.
Previous reports from the “National Survey of Family and Health” show an improvement in some determinants, such as an increase in the number of births taking place in hospitals rather than at home. Institutional deliveries increased from 78.9% in 2015-16 to 93.8% in 2019-20. But then the thing to think about is why the malnutrition statistics are not so satisfactory?
The percentage of underweight children was 19.7% in 1998-1999, which increased to 22.9% in 2005-06. In the latest survey, that figure rose to 32.1 percent. The same goes for anemia. The prevalence of anemia among girls aged 14-19 was 22.7% in 2015-16, which increased to 25% in 2019-21. These figures only indicate the state of health of the country.
The truth is that the concept of health should not be thought of alone, but it must be thought of in an integral way. The concept of health must be made inclusive.
Health is said to be not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. In other words, we have to look at health from all sides. Health experts believe that the human body is made up of tiny cells. These cells have independent existence and function independently. All these cells together form a body. Every cell needs oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to survive. The better a person eats, breathes better, gets enough exercise, refrains from smoking, the more the cells benefit, the healthier they are and the healthier the body is in general. So if we are aware of what to do and what not to do, then every cell will be healthy.
This is exactly the relationship that an individual has with the community country. The nation is a body and its individuals are like cells. If a nation is to be healthy, then all its cells, i.e. the individuals, must be healthy.
But as we enter eternity, we seem miles away from those goals. For example, if we look at income, according to the “Human Development Survey of India”, only two percent of households in India have an income of more than eight lakh rupees.
As the gap between poverty and wealth increases, the health status of the nation’s population will decrease, conversely, if this gap narrows, the health status and standard of living will automatically increase. No other measures would be required for this.
Therefore, an effort should be made to save all kinds of inequalities. In general, it is not understood that inequality in society is harmful to the health of each individual. Society, the country is made up of individuals. Social, political, economic and gender equality are the characteristics of an ideal society. That is why they were included in the constitution.
Image credit: UNICEF