Maharashtra’s Palghar Is Fighting A Dual Battle – Malnutrition and COVID-19: An On-Ground Report Highlighting The Plight Of Tribal Families

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Maharashtra's Palghar Is Fighting A Dual Battle - Malnutrition and COVID-19: An On-Ground Report Highlighting The Plight Of Tribal FamiliesMaharashtra’s Palghar is fighting A dual battle – malnutrition and COVID-19, families speak with NDTV and share how they are struggling to eat even one meal a day

Highlights
  • Maharashtra’s Palghar has always been tagged as severely malnourished
  • In past few months, malnutrition in the district has increased by 2.3%
  • Tribal families struggled to get proper nutrition in the lockdown

New Delhi: In Maharashtra’s Palghar region, one year and one month old twins – Rupesh and Rupali get only dry rice as their daily meals. At an age when, children should get a diverse diet along with complementary feeding to get proper nutrition, these young children are only surviving on dry food, which is not even nutritious for their growth. A few metres from Rupesh and Rupali’s home lives the three-year-old Umesh Bhambre. He is a bit skinnier than other children of his age. His height is 84 cm and weight is mere 8 kilograms and he falls under the category of Moderate acute malnutrition (MAM).

This is not the story of these children alone, it is a story of every second child living in a district with a population of 3 million, 37 per cent of which are Scheduled Tribe.  Even though Palghar is barely 130 kilometres from Mumbai – the financial capital of India – it is tagged as one of the most backward districts in Maharashtra, where malnutrition is a very serious concern.

Back in 2005, this district came into limelight when child malnutrition claimed as many as 718 lives. In 2016, again more than 600 children died due to under-nutrition in the same district. In February 2019, the journal PLoS published a report that found 59 per cent of children up to age six were stunted and 53 percent were underweight in Palghar. The study also highlighted that the children in Palghar are undernourished because they do not have access to an all-round meal, which should include carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals and vitamins.

After 15 years, the trends of malnutrition have still not changed in the region.

Also Read: Poshan Maah 2020: Why Protecting Health And Nutrition Rights Of Children During COVID-19 Is Important For India, Experts Speak

NDTV’s reporter Purva Chitnis went to Palghar district, for an on-ground reality check. Speaking to the families about the current scenario of coronavirus lockdown, she found that every second house in Palghar is coping up with some form of malnutrition and because of the lockdown and disturbed services, the situation of nutrition has further worsened in the region.

Talking to NDTV about the situation, Rupesh and Rupali’s grandmother Jaya Taral added,

We don’t have any money to feed these children vegetables or other nutritious food. We have 8 people in the house, my son works as a daily wager worker but due to lockdown his work is disturbed and as a result we don’t have money at home for our day-to-day activities. We all eat one meal a day and try and give all the meals to our children because their age requires more nutrition.

Umesh’s mother Pramila Badwe said,

Both my sons are struggling with malnutrition currently, my younger son Umesh is suffering from severe malnutrition therefore I need to take care of him even more. Currently, for us the struggle is getting daily meals. Earlier my elder son used to go to school, there he used to receive the mid-day meal, but now that also has stopped.

Earlier this year, NDTV had also visited the home of 35-year-old Dilip Wagh in Kadvyachimali village of Jawahar taluka in Palghar district and found that the family had barely enough food and no money to buy vegetables or cooking oil. They foraged herbs from the forest for meals and used the oil extracted after drying and crushing seeds from the Mahua tree for cooking. During the lockdown, the family is surviving only on government rations.

In past six months, malnutrition in Palghar has increased by 2.3 per cent as per the women and child care authority of the district. Many families have also complained that in these past few months they have got their free take home rations as well in a disturbed manner. They only managed to get 2 kgs of the essentials like pulses, rice and grain, which is very less to feed even one member of the family properly.

Status Of Malnutrition In Maharashtra

Maharashtra is one of the richest and the second most populous state in India, however the prevalence of undernutrition and malnutrition is unacceptably high in the state, particularly among the tribal children. According to NFHS 4, the state has not been able to fight wasting or low weight for height and underweight problem among children below five years of age who were covered in the survey. The data shows that wasting has seen an increase of more than nine per cent from 16.5 per cent in NFHS 3 (2005-06) to 25.6 per cent in NFHS 4 (2015-16), which is worse than the national average of 21 per cent. On the other hand, the prevalence of underweight children in the state has been brought down by just one per cent. This indicates a failure in catering to the nutritional needs of the children in the state who were covered in the survey.

Expert View On Malnutrition In COVID Times

Experts think coronavirus pandemic has worsened the situation not just for Palghar in Maharashtra but for India overall. Dr. Jatinder Bir Singh, Head, MEAL from NGO Save the Children highlighting the two rapid need surveys done by the organisation to understand the impact of COVID on nutrition for families and children said,

We did two surveys in past few months in 14 states and 2 Union Territories of India with more than 7,000 respondents and we found that the two biggest challenge for the rural India in the times of coronavirus were cash for day to day activities and food supplies. As the poor households have limited livelihood opportunities, in coronavirus circumstances this has gotten worse which in a way is affecting the nutrition and food intake of the families. As per the survey, it was noted that one in every three households did not receive their take home ration (THR) during the time of pandemic, close to two-fifth of the household reported that their children are not receiving mid-day-meal and are therefore becoming weak. And close to one out of five households did not receive ration under the public distribution scheme by the government.

Also Read: In COVID-19 Pandemic, More And More Families Are Going Hungry Thereby Impacting India’s Nutritional Status: NGO Save The Children

Basanta Kumar Kar, Recipient of 2019 Global Nutrition Leadership Award also known as Nutrition Man of India on the other hand said,

Maharashtra’s Palghar region has always been the talk because of its malnutrition rate. Before coronavirus crisis the situation in that region wasn’t great and as we all know the pandemic has disturbed livelihoods across India and Palghar is no different. However, having said that, the vulnerability of the pandemic in terms of nutrition among the women and children is even more for tribal regions like Palghar as compared to the rest of the world. India needs to fight the problem of malnutrition from every area or region of the country as it is fighting for COVID only then the situation will get a little better.

Also Read: Can India Piggy Bank On Food Fortification To Achieve The Goal Of POSHAN Abhiyaan?


NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

3,30,74,393Cases

91,51,530Active

2,29,25,150Recovered

9,97,713Deaths

Coronavirus has spread to 188 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 3,30,74,393 and 9,97,713 have died; 91,51,530 are active cases and 2,29,25,150 have recovered as on September 28, 2020 at 3:48 am.

India

60,74,702 82170Cases

9,62,640 6238Active

50,16,520 74893Recovered

95,542 1039Deaths

In India, there are 60,74,702 confirmed cases including 95,542 deaths. The number of active cases is 9,62,640 and 50,16,520 have recovered as on September 28, 2020 at 2:30 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

DistrictCases

Akola757

Aurangabad1974

Dhule228

Jalgaon1039

Mumbai45478

Mumbai Suburban5363

Nagpur692

Nashik1575

Palghar1421

Pune9920

Satara629

Solapur1291

Thane13660

Yavatmal150

Ahmednagar190

Amravati291

Beed54

Bhandara41

Buldhana88

Chandrapur32

Hingoli208

Jalna201

Kolhapur646

Latur139

Nanded176

Nandurbar42

Parbhani78

Raigad1462

Ratnagiri350

Sangli145

Gadchiroli42

gondia69

Osmanabad125

Sindhudurg114

Wardha11

Washim13

1339232 18056

273646 4111

1030015 13565

35571 380

DistrictCases

Chittoor319

Guntur511

Krishna557

Kurnool795

Sri Potti Sriramulu Nell*296

Anantapur428

East Godavari356

Prakasam104

Srikakulam183

Visakhapatnam103

West Godavari199

Y.S.R.205

Vizianagaram23

675674 6923

64876

605090 7796

5708 45

DistrictCases

Bengaluru Rural40

Bengaluru Urban529

Mysuru107

Bagalkote103

Ballari60

Belagavi337

Bidar219

Chikkaballapura149

Dakshina Kannada179

Dharwad61

Gadag45

Kalaburagi669

Mandya346

Tumakuru36

Uttara Kannada95

Vijayapura201

Chamarajanagara0

Chikkamagaluru19

Chitradurga14

Davangere204

Hassan205

Haveri24

Kodagu4

Kolar29

Koppal5

Raichur369

Ramanagara3

Shivamogga67

Udupi1176

Yadgir538

575566 9543

104743 2942

462241 6522

8582 79

DistrictCases

North Goa57

South Goa69

31958 384

5097

26460 701

401 10

DistrictCases

Chengalpattu1314

Chennai23324

Kanchipuram503

Madurai322

Namakkal83

Ranipet133

Thanjavur130

Thiruvallur774

Thiruvarur67

Tiruppur116

Vellore71

Virudhunagar185

Ariyalur444

Coimbatore188

Cuddalore477

Dharmapuri15

Dindigul175

Erode75

Kallakurichi324

Kanniyakumari110

Karur88

Nagapattinam99

Perambalur133

Pudukkottai53

Ramanathapuram119

Salem258

Sivaganga46

Tenkasi103

The Nilgiris17

Theni129

Tiruchirappalli119

Tirunelveli433

Tirupathur45

Tiruvannamalai496

Tuticorin333

Villupuram509

Krishnagiri43

580808 5791

46341 5

525154 5706

9313 80

DistrictCases

Kannur357

Kottayam73

Alappuzha76

Idukki40

Kasaragod333

Kollam118

Kozhikode90

Malappuram119

Palakkad224

Pathanamthitta98

Thiruvananthapuram104

Thrissur106

Ernakulam60

Wayanad36

175384 7445

56786 4033

117921 3391

677 21

DistrictCases

Raipur46

Korba100

Balod41

Baloda Bazar85

Balrampur17

Bastar2

Bemetara21

Bijapur2

Bilaspur100

Dantewada0

Dhamtari6

Durg31

Gariyaband10

Janjgir-Champa56

Jashpur77

Kabirdham52

Kanker19

Kondagaon0

Korea39

Mahasamund54

Mungeli87

Narayanpur0

Raigarh47

Rajnandgaon52

Sukma0

Surajpur9

Surguja14

104733 2272

31661 972

72224 1269

848 31

DistrictCases

Hyderabad2475

MedchalMalkajgiri75

Ranga Reddy183

Suryapet87

Vikarabad40

Warangal Urban32

Adilabad22

Jagitial77

Jangoan8

Jayashankar Bhupalapally9

Jogulamba Gadwal40

Kamareddy11

Karimnagar17

Khammam26

Kumuram Bheem Asifabad8

Mahabubnagar30

Mancherial43

Medak11

Nalgonda33

Narayanpet3

Nirmal21

Nizamabad76

RajannaSircilla16

Sangareddy26

Bhadradri Kothagudem5

Mahabubabad10

Mulugu3

Nagarkurnool8

Peddapalli5

Siddipet7

Wanaparthy1

Warangal Rural4

YadadriBhuvanagiri40

187211 1378

29673

156431 1932

1107 7

DistrictCases

Baleshwar190

Bhadrak137

Jajapur322

Dhenkanal36

Kalahandi33

Kendrapara164

Khordha238

Koraput16

Sundargarh102

Anugul26

Balangir129

Bargarh16

Boudh34

Cuttack155

Deogarh33

Gajapati61

Ganjam581

Jagatsinghapur91

Jharsuguda8

Kandhamal28

Kendujhar34

Malkangiri20

Mayurbhanj73

Nabarangpur2

Nayagarh86

Nuapada69

Puri103

Rayagada2

Sambalpur16

Sonepur29

209374 3922

35006 530

173571 3378

797 14

DistrictCases

Barwani60

Bhopal1880

Dewas140

Dhar132

East Nimar266

Gwalior211

Indore3839

Jabalpur276

Ujjain799

Agar Malwa15

Alirajpur3

Betul35

Burhanpur351

Chhindwara16

Dindori29

Harda4

Hoshangabad37

Khargone196

Mandsaur112

Morena109

Raisen71

Ratlam51

Sagar228

Shajapur39

Shandol14

Sheopur26

Tikamgarh18

Vidisha37

Anuppur22

Ashoknagar13

Balaghat9

Bhind87

Chhatarpur35

Damoh26

Datia12

Guna8

Jhabua14

Katni3

Mandla15

Narsinghpur17

Neemuch319

Niwari0

Panna20

Rajgarh31

Rewa39

Satna24

Sehore12

Seoni2

Shivpuri15

Sidhi17

Singrauli13

Umaria10

122209 2310

22431 203

97571 2081

2207 26

DistrictCases

Ahmadabad17125

Anand107

Arvalli134

Banas Kantha147

Bhavnagar146

Gandhinagar410

PanchMahals107

Surat2311

Vadodara1555

Bharuch56

Botad55

Chhotaudepur37

Dang5

Dohad43

GirSomnath45

Jamnagar63

Kachchh99

Kheda98

Mahesana159

Mahisagar125

Narmada25

Naysari35

Patan105

Rajkot135

SabarKantha101

Surendranagar55

Tapi6

Valsad47

Amreli16

DevbhumiDwarka22

Junagadh31

Morbi4

Porbandar11

133057 1411

16633 170

113008 1231

3416 10

DistrictCases

Ajmer379

Banswara91

Bharatpur563

Jaipur2177

Jhalawar329

Jodhpur1748

Kota503

Nagaur500

Alwar90

Barmer34

Bhilwara250

Bikaner112

Chittorgarh188

Churu81

Dausa61

Dholpur60

Dungarpur374

Hanumangarh31

Jaisalmer53

Jhunjhunu64

Karauli17

Pali352

Rajsamand140

SawaiMadhopur26

Sikar231

Tonk171

Udaipur724

Baran59

Bundi5

Ganganagar8

Jalore164

Pratapgarh14

Sirohi130

128859 2084

19700 345

107718 1724

1441 15

DistrictCases

Faridabad867

Sonipat404

Ambala93

Bhiwani60

CharkiDadri43

Fatehabad38

Gurugram2950

Hisar98

Jhajjar114

Jind38

Kaithal48

Karnal104

Kurukshetra55

Nuh68

Palwal120

Panchkula39

Panipat78

Rohtak145

Sirsa50

Yamunanagar19

Mahendragarh47

Rewari56

123782 1515

16485

105990 2163

1307 16

DistrictCases

Agra933

Aligarh215

Amroha80

Bareilly17

Bijnor157

Bulandshahr166

Firozabad190

Gautam Buddha Nagar1119

Kanpur Nagar286

Lucknow386

Mathura129

Meerut504

Moradabad252

Muzaffarnagar117

Rae Bareli78

Rampur203

Saharanpur298

Sant Kabeer Nagar132

Varanasi243

Auraiya37

Ayodhya120

Azamgarh138

Baghpat68

Bahraich73

Balrampur49

Banda27

Basti214

Bhadohi60

Budaun23

Etah52

Etawah46

Ghaziabad794

Ghazipur159

Gonda59

Gorakhpur166

Hapur225

Hardoi49

Jalaun41

Jaunpur194

Jhansi41

Kannauj69

Kasganj16

Kaushambi6

Mainpuri46

Mau48

Mirzapur22

Pilibhit15

Pratapgarh15

Prayagraj30

Sambhal116

Shamli40

Shravasti23

Sitapur32

Sultanpur97

Unnao42

Ambedkar Nagar92

Amethi206

Ballia60

Barabanki168

Chandauli38

Chitrakoot4

Deoria143

Farrukhabad36

Fatehpur3

Hamirpur3

Hathras43

Kanpur Dehat4

Kheri72

Kushi Nagar67

Lalitpur3

Maharajganj85

Mahoba3

Shahjahanpur25

Siddharth Nagar159

Sonbhadra10

387085 4250

55603

325888 5656

5594 77

DistrictCases

Central4817

East2472

New Delhi3405

North3059

North East1914

North West5463

Shahdara1580

South2329

South East2446

South West2391

West4768

271114 3292

29228

236651 3739

5235 42

DistrictCases

Dhubri30

Goalpara19

Marigaon50

Baksa14

Barpeta28

Biswanath16

Bongaigaon12

Cachar80

Charaideo29

Chirang6

Darrang20

Dhemaji47

Dibrugarh61

Dima Hasao86

Golaghat203

Hailakandi57

Hojai89

Jorhat24

Kamrup42

Kamrup Metro276

KarbiAnglong13

Karimganj85

Kokrajhar37

Lakhimpur57

Majuli2

Nagaon143

Nalbari23

Sivasagar20

Sonitpur27

South SalmaraMancachar4

Tinsukia84

Udalguri28

West KarbiAnglong5

169985 875

29350

139980 1670

655 17

DistrictCases

East District3

North District0

South District3

West District0

2871 38

692

2146 49

33 2

DistrictCases

Buxar134

Gaya115

Munger188

Patna279

Rohtas256

Arwal52

Aurangabad75

Banka134

Begusarai243

Bhagalpur266

Bhojpur103

Darbhanga143

Gopalganj123

Jehanabad178

Kaimur (bhabua)105

Lakhisarai72

Madhepura82

Madhubani199

Nalanda123

Nawada122

PurbiChamparan138

Purnia135

Saran101

Siwan139

Vaishali87

Araria68

Jamui47

Katihar175

Khagaria253

Kishanganj75

Muzaffarpur96

Pashchim Champaran57

Saharsa88

Samastipur139

Sheikhpura118

Sheohar20

Sitamarhi73

Supaul87

178702 1630

12827 73

164987 1555

888 2

DistrictCases

24 Paraganas North1031

24 Paraganas South281

Darjeeling97

Howrah1435

Jalpaiguri88

Kalimpong18

Kolkata2777

Maldah235

Medinipur East153

Medinipur West159

Hooghly604

Murshidabad125

Nadia139

Paschim Bardhaman70

Purba Bardhaman130

Alipurduar39

Bankura116

Birbhum206

Coochbehar210

Dinajpur Dakshin50

Dinajpur Uttar216

Jhargram9

Purulia66

247425 3185

25723 179

216921 2946

4781 60

DistrictCases

South Andamans33

Nicobars1

North And Middle Andaman1

3794 20

188 17

3553 2

53 1

DistrictCases

Pondicherry111

Karaikal2

Mahe4

Yanam0

26400 368

5239

20648 443

513 13

DistrictCases

Anjaw0

Changlang31

Dibang Valley0

East Kameng0

East Siang1

Kamle0

KraDaadi0

KurungKumey0

Leparada0

Lohit3

Longding0

Lower Dibang Valley0

Lower Siang0

Lower Subansiri0

Namsai2

PakkeKessang1

Papum Pare8

Shi Yomi0

Siang0

Tawang1

Tirap0

Upper Siang1

Upper Subansiri0

West Kameng0

West Siang1

9004 135

2495 37

6495 98

14

DistrictCases

Dimapur20

Kiphire3

Kohima7

Longleng0

Mokokchung0

Mon8

Peren2

Phek1

Tuensang3

Wokha0

Zunheboto0

5946 84

1042 15

4888 69

16

DistrictCases

Dadra And Nagar Haveli20

3002 6

152

2848 17

2

DistrictCases

Ranchi148

Bokaro16

Deoghar5

Dhanbad32

Garhwa80

Giridih19

Hazaribagh110

Jamtara2

Koderma58

Simdega48

Chatra1

Dumka5

East Singhbum170

Godda2

Gumla28

Khunti10

Latehar14

Lohardaga8

Pakur4

Palamu27

Ramgarh75

Sahebganj0

SaraikelaKharsawan20

West Singhbhum21

79909 974

12433 7

66797 958

679 9

DistrictCases

Gomati74

North Tripura14

Dhalai196

Khowai24

Sepahijala174

South Tripura53

Unakoti49

West Tripura45

24921 193

5689

18959 567

273 3

DistrictCases

Kargil77

LehLadakh43

4103 10

1013

3032 14

58 1

DistrictCases

Anantnag395

Bandipora175

Shopian255

Srinagar300

Baramulla271

Budgam110

Ganderbal37

Jammu138

Kathua53

Kulgam295

Kupwara231

Rajouri39

Ramban151

Reasi26

Samba25

Udhampur155

Mirpur0

Muzaffarabad0

Doda27

Kishtwar10

Poonch35

Pulwama108

72190 1141

18199

52859 1365

1132 7

DistrictCases

Chamba29

Hamirpur117

Kangra105

Sirmaur11

Solan32

Una41

Bilaspur21

Kinnaur2

Kullu4

Lahaul And Spiti0

Mandi21

Shimla10

14191 195

3657

10359 631

175 11

DistrictCases

Jalandhar297

Ludhiana293

Patiala132

Amritsar485

Barnala25

Faridkot74

Firozepur50

Gurdaspur154

Hoshiarpur140

Kapurthala44

Mansa31

Moga65

Pathankot86

S.A.S Nagar137

Sangrur107

Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr)99

Sri Muktsar Sahib71

Tarn Taran163

Bathinda60

Fatehgarh Sahib57

Fazilka53

Rupnagar (Ropar)74

110106 1422

18556

88312 2299

3238 50

DistrictCases

Haridwar94

Dehradun370

Nainital323

Almora71

Bageshwar31

Chamoli36

Champawat45

PauriGarhwal36

Pithoragarh43

Rudraprayag30

Tehri Garhwal110

Udam Singh Nagar83

Uttar Kashi24

47045 764

10799

35672 813

574 8

DistrictCases

Bishnupur7

Chandel5

Churachandpur32

Imphal East10

Imphal West21

Jiribam3

Kakching2

Kamjong5

Kangpokpi26

Noney1

Pherzawl3

Senapati6

Tamenglong2

Tengnoupal9

Thoubal18

Ukhrul4

10299 248

2359 53

7876 195

64

DistrictCases

Chandigarh313

11553 173

2303 5

9103 166

147 2

DistrictCases

East Khasi Hills22

East Garo Hills0

East Jaintia Hills0

North Garo Hills1

Ribhoi0

South Garo Hills0

South West Garo Hills4

South West Khasi Hills0

West Garo Hills5

West Jaintia Hills1

West Khasi Hills1

5302 90

1480

3779 125

43

DistrictCases

Aizawl10

Champhai0

Hnahthial0

Khawzawl0

Kolasib11

Lawngtlai2

Lunglei2

Mamit8

Saiha0

Saitual1

Serchhip0

1908 43

535

1373 57

0

DistrictCases

Lakshadweep District0

0

0

0

0

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