Malnourishment: A silent threat to rural India

As Paul Prudhomme said “You don’t need a silver spoon to eat good food.” Everyone has the right to eat well, whether they were born with a silver spoon or not. The children living in the rural parts of India are the ones born with least amount of facilities necessary to lead a normal life. Even the basic necessities of life like food, shelter, and clothes are not accessible to them. This they lead a malnourished life right from the time they are born. Hunger is their continuous enemy against which they put up a brave battle every day. Their daily routine starts with some boiled rice or just a roti and raw onion. Expensive meals including milk, vegetables, and fruits are much beyond their accessibility.

Malnutrition causes more deaths amongst children and youth than any other calamity in India:
  • A recent study done on more than 800 adolescents living below the poverty line in West Bengal has shown that about 54% were stunted in growth and 49% were thin. This gives a clear idea about the plight of the kids in the rural areas.
  • The world bank data further compares the situation of India with the world, indicating disturbing results. World Bank states that India has one of the world’s highest number of malnourished children in the whole world.
  • According to the UNICEF report, three million children under the age of five die every year due to malnutrition.

Reasons behind malnutrition

Following are the key reasons behind malnutrition in rural India:-
  • Poverty
  • Non-availability of nutritious food
  • Lack of awareness
  • Scarcity of healthcare facilities
  • Poor Sanitation and hygiene
  • Lack of breastfeeding during the early hours of birth

Effect of Malnutrition

Children can develop various diseases due to malnutrition. The common ones are:
  • Marasmus ( low body weight due to undernourishment)
  • Kwashiorkor (Delayed growth and swollen stomach due to the deficiency of protein in diet).
  • Rickets (bones bend due to the deficiency of calcium and Vitamin D)
  • Children with swollen bellies, thin limbs, and misaligned bones are common to sight in Indian villages, confirming the ill-effects of malnutrition.

What can be done for these malnourished children?

Every Indian citizen has a duty to serve these malnourished children. Spandan Society has always worked hard to deal with hunger-situation and fight against malnourishment. The NGO organizes food camps in the villages, where they take the following measures:
  • Food Distribution to children as well as the rural adults
  • The Arrangement of the seasonal fruits and vegetables for a complete meal
  • Providing beverages to curb the incidents of dehydration
  • Creating Awareness about proper food requirements of a human body.
  • Educating villagers about the prevention of malnourishment and its bad effects on the growth of children.
  • Information about hygiene and sanitation to keep the infectious diseases at bay as there are high chances of malnourished kids to catch such infections.
  • As Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed 100 people then at least feed one”. Spandan Society is making best attempts to feed hundreds of them and increasing its reach day by day to make India a well-nourished country.