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Slum children denied healthcare due to missing Anganwadis

The fact that these slums are located on the banks of Musi river has made matters worse, exposing the residents to water-borne and vector-borne diseases.

Published: 18th November 2021 07:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2021 07:21 AM   |  A+A-

As Chandraiah and Laxmaiah bastis are located on the banks of Musi river, the residents are being exposed to water-borne and vector-borne diseases

As Chandraiah and Laxmaiah bastis are located on the banks of Musi river, the residents are being exposed to water-borne and vector-borne diseases (Photo | Express, Vinay Madapu)

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: They have seen four floods and two generations go by, but the residents of Chandraiah and Laxmaiah bastis in Malakpet have not yet been able to link up with the basic government schemes. In the long list of social schemes they are yet to receive is an Anganwadi centre, absence of which is being dearly felt now as the pandemic is forcing the mothers also to head to work.

“Last month, rats bit a child when her mother was away at work. We rushed her to a private hospital for medical support. Earlier, a child died of snakebite when parents were not around. It is becoming difficult to manage work and raise the children in the basti,” said Sabrin Begum, a resident.

The fact that these slums are located on the banks of Musi river has made matters worse, exposing the residents to water-borne and vector-borne diseases. “Had there been at least one Anganwadi, we could have left the children there and they would have learnt something. There are nearly 30 to 50 children under five years of age in this area alone,” said Vijay Middoddi, another resident.

The Dalit Women’s Collective, which is a group working to empower Dalit women in the State, recently visited several such slum pockets with a predominantly Dalit population and found that either there was no linkage with an Anganwadi or the Anganwadis were overcrowded. “One Anganwadi in Singareni Colony is very crammed and poorly ventilated. It requires a new structure to be allotted for the children. In Laxmaiah and Chandraiah huts, there is no Anganwadi at all,” observed Professor Sujatha Surepally of the Collective.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the State Women Development and Child Welfare Department sought 100 new centres in Hyderabad district, including these two slum settlements, from the Central government. Currently, there are 171 Anganwadis in the Secunderabad area and 191 in Hyderabad (Nampally) area. “The nearest centre for these settlements is SS Banjara, which is at least two lanes away and not easily accessible,” informed an official.

It may be recalled that the recent National Family Health Survey shows that there are over 1.91 lakh children in Hyderabad with anaemia, 1.02 lakh with stunting and 59,462 with wasting in the below five years of age category.

“The WCD must find some stopgap measure to link these children and women to an Anganwadi because they are generationally suffering from lack of home, displacement, migration and floods,” added Professor Sujatha. 



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