Pandemic effect: Malnourishment among children on the rise in Telangana

The situation has exasperated the erratic functioning of the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs). 

Published: 19th August 2021 10:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th August 2021 10:01 AM   |  A+A-

Kids, Orphans, Children

Representational image (Express Illustrations)

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: An unprecedented fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic is the acute malnourishment in children and this has become clear with the increase in the number of malnourished children being detected in the State’s nodal pediatric facility, Niloufer Hospital. According to Head of the Department of Pediatrics Dr T Usha Rani, the hospital has been witnessing a 20% to 30% increase in number of children with malnourishment.

“Malnourishment tends to go undiagnosed. It is only when parents bring the child to the hospital that we observe signs of malnourishment and send them to a nutrition counsellor for accurate advice and treatment,” said Dr Rani.

In one such severe case, doctors found a child who turned blind owing to vitamin A deficiency. “The child was brought in with pneumonia. However, the child had typical signs of malnourishment. After diagnosis, we found that the child was affected with corneal blindness owing to vitamin A deficiency and got the child treated in LV Prasad Eye Hospital. The family was from Nagpur and since they lost their job during the lockdown, the nutrition given to the child went haywire,” she added. 

The situation has exasperated the erratic functioning of the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs). The NRCs were set up as part of a Central government scheme to provide medically assisted nutrition to Severely Acute Malnourished and MAM children to clinically increase their weight with monitored calorie and nutrient intake. As part of this, Telangana was given 12 NRC wards with inhouse kitchen and nutritionist support in 12 different government hospitals, where children are admitted for malnourishment. It is learnt from highly placed sources that the NRC in Gandhi Hospital was completely shut for one whole year as it was a Covid-19 hospital for the majority of the year. Owing to this, officials have decided to shift the NRC to Niloufer Hospital where more children can make use of it without fear of a third wave-induced ward closure. 

“Currently, the NRC ward we have is operational only till evening, after which children are shifted to other wards. We hope to start the 24x7 NRC ward in the coming week with the equipment and manpower we get from Gandhi hopsital, to help these children recover faster,” Dr Usha Rani said and added that they have already started providing treatment to five children.

Telangana recorded 424 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday after conducting 91,350 tests. The day also saw 449 individuals recover from the virus, which has taken the active caseload to 6,912 in the state. The State also witnessed two Covid deaths on Wednesday. 


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