Banda has been grappling with malnutrition of children, which has emerged as a major factor affecting the overall health and development of children in the district. In order to eradicate this problem, the district administration has identified the causes of malnutrition and is making an all out effort to deal with this challenge, writes Garima Singh, Divisional Coordinator, UNICEF for Elets News Network (ENN).
Located in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, Banda district is known to be affected by drought. Malnutrition in children of the district is a major public health problem. As per NFHS-4 (2015-16), 47 percent of under-five children are stunted (low height for age) and 18 percent are wasted (low weight for height). Malnutrition is major factor affecting the children’s overall health and development, which in turn result in child death and frequent illness.
There are three factors causing such prominent levels of malnutrition among children in Banda, which require urgent attention:
Malnutrition at birth: Poor maternal malnutrition, poor weight gain during pregnancy and anaemia during pregnancy contributes to 20% wasting at the time of child’s birth. In Banda more than 60% PW are anaemic in Banda which itself contributes to low birth weight, an important predisposing factor for wasting and underweight
Malnutrition in first six months of birth: Due to poor breastfeeding practices and/or early introduction of complementary foods. Almost 30% children are already undernourished in first six months of life.
Malnutrition after six months of age: Due to very poor complementary feeding practices after six months. Only about 5% children are consuming adequate complementary foods after six months of age.