Malnutrition on the rise in Kerala State, India: survey

Thrissur: Malnutrition among children is a major concern for the State as 29 per cent of them are underweight, a conference on child rights has observed.

Addressing the conference, R. Akhila, UNICEF representative for Tamil Nadu and Kerala, said that persistent inequality and ineffective implementation of pro-poor policies were the major reasons for the increasing rate of malnutrition among women and children.

The conference organised by UNICEF in association with the Directorate of Field Publicity and the Rajagiri Outreach aimed at sensitising the newly-elected Local Self Government heads in the State on Child Rights from the perspective of international declarations like the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child and Millennium Development Goals.

Though Kerala’s infant mortality and maternal mortality rates were far better than the national rate, the State still had a vast burden of malnutrition among children and mothers, the experts said.

According to the National Family Health Survey, the number of the State’s underweight children had increased from 27 per cent in 1998-99 to 29 per cent in 2005-2006.

“The number of anaemic children showed a 12 per cent increase from 1998-99 to 2005-2006 in the State.

On an average, 55.7 per cent of children in the age group of 6-35 months are anaemic. The case of women is also no different as 32.3 per cent of them in the age group of 16-49 years are anaemic,” she noted. Having an effective decentralised governance, the State should encourage its local bodies to play a vital role in achieving the millennium development goals, Ms. Akhila said.

V.P. Paily, State coordinator of Confidential Review of Maternal Deaths in Kerala noted that haemorrhage and hypertensive disorders were the major cause of maternal mortality in the State.


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