The latest data put out by the Integrated Child Development Services highlights what a tough challenge tackling child malnutrition in Mumbai’s slums remains.
The latest data says that the slums have over 50,000 moderately underweight and over 3,000 severely underweight children. Undernourished children account for a massive 17% of the total children weighed in anganwadis across Mumbai until March 2016.
All this shows how tough challenge malnutrition remains despite the various interventions, both by the government as well as NGOs.
Between 2015-16, eight children, who were suffering from malnutrition, died. Five were infants below the age of one year, while the rest were between three to six years.
Experts say that the figures highlight the challenges of dealing with a migrant population.
“The slums that have reported such high numbers are home to a migrant population, people who come from different castes and religions”, says Dr Yogesh Nandanwar, Head, Gynecology, at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Hospital. “The mothers are anemic and undernourished and they are in no condition to have health babies. “
Dr Nandanwar calls anemia the nucleus of all problems. “Because of anemia, worm infestation becomes an issue. Low hemoglobin is another major issue.”
Given that migrants account for one-third of Mumbai’s population, the numbers are enormous. And the fact that this is a floating population makes the challenge even bigger, underlining the need to have a specific policy to look at nutrition issues among the city’s migrant population.