A movement against malnutrition in Chhattisgarh

There is a saying in Arabic that translates to- 'The one who has health...has hope. And the one who has hopes...has everything'.

To save the world, we need to save humans, and to save humans, we need to take care of their health. In this way, the concern for protecting human health is the concern to save the world.

Now the question is- how are we fulfilling our responsibilities towards protecting human health. According to World Health Organzation's report, situation in many nations of the world is extremely shocking.

One of the major threat that the world has been facing is of 'malnutrition'. According to United Nations, every year in India, nearly 10 lakh children of age 5 years and below die because of malnutrition.

Each state of India has formulated its own strategy to deal with health-related challenges, especially the challenge of malnutrition eradication. In Chhattisgarh also, this battle against malnutrition is being fought with all the might. However, the enormity of this challenge in Chhattisgarh is way more as compared to other states of the country.

On November 1, Chhattisgarh would complete 20 years of formation. We need not to mention about the status of socio-economic status, geographical challenges and infrastructural circumstances of these regions, when Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand states were separated from Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively.

Chhattisgarh was comparatively in a more difficult situation that the other two states. 43% of the land was covered in forest while Naxalism posed as a major challenge.

Till date, a major chunk of the population living in remote areas of the state do not have access to the basic facilities. This is the reason why malnutrition took a monstrous shape in Chhattisgarh.

In Chhattisgarh, 37.06% children of age five years and below are suffering from malnutrition and 41.50% of the girls and women of age 15-45 years are anemic.

It is understood here that most of these people affected by malnutrition and anemia belong to tribal communities and BPL category. Now if we recall the quote that 'manlnutrition is a kind of epidemic', we can fathom the seriousness of the situation. Though the situation is of grave concern, it is still not disappointing.

The State Government has marked the factors and indicators of health-related challenges in Chhattisgarh and has started implementing the strategic action plan. Initial results of this action plan has turned out to be extremely promising.

The new government of Chhattisgarh state has taken 'Gadhbo Naya Chhattisgarh' as its motto, which means 'We will create New Chhattisgarh'.

All kinds of measures and steps are being taken to achieve the goal of providing all kinds of basic facilities including health and education to even the remotest area of the state. This work is being done in form of a campaign.

On the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji i.e. on October 2, 2019, the State Government launched five new schemes simultaneously. This includes four schemes directly related to nutrition and health.

To make Chhattisgarh state malnutrition-free, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has given three years to his government. In the same sequence, Suposhan Abhiyan was started in Dantewada and Bastar in July month this year.

Under this campaign, children, teenage girls and women were being provided freshly-cooked nutritious food through aanganbadis every day. Considering the positive results of the campaign, it was gradually expanded to other districts of the state. Eventually on October 2, 2019, this campaign was launched at state-level in every panchayat of Chhattisgarh.

The results of the pilot project were as follows- In the month of August, 4,52,291 under-nourished children and 1,84,351 anemic females were benefited. In the month of September, 4,76,930 under-nourished children and 2,66,405 anemic females availed the benefits of the campaign.

The New Government has revised the previously existing PDS system and transformed it into niversal PDS-APL System. Under New PDS System, every section of the society will be provided nutritious food.

Those basic facilities, lack of which has been included in the list of major threats by WHO, is being provided effectively by Chhattisgarh Government under Chief Minister Haat-Bazaar Clinic Scheme and Chief Minister Urban Slum Health Scheme, thus minimizing the threat.

The objective of the former scheme is to provide health facilities to even the last person living in remote area, especially tribal regions of the state. Under this scheme, Government Mobile Clinic facility is provided in weekly haat-bazaars, wherein check-up, treatment and medicines along with regular health services are provided.

Through these mobile clinics, women, teenage girls, children and other sections are also made aware about health. Before the launch of this scheme at state-level, it was started as a pilot project in tribal areas. And the results of this pilot project were as follows- In August, medical teams visited 3005 haat bazaars and treated 1,03,541 patients.

In September, medical teams visited 3813 weekly haat bazaars and treated 1,23,513 patients. On the same lines, Chief Minister Urbal Slum Health Scheme was also started to provide regular health services in urban slums. Various test and treatment facilities along with OPD is being provided in slum areas, under the scheme.

Despite the sufficient availability of government and private hospitals, ultramodern equipments, buildings, qualified doctors and trained health workers in the state, a major part of Chhattisgarh has been waiting for the ray of hope for good health. And this is the part, where the soul of the state resides. Finally the time has come, when the soul of the state will be illuminated.