Even after much glaring media attention and promises by the State and Central governments, 14 children died due to malnutrition in a tribal village Attapady in Palakkad district this year.Reasons for deaths of children are due to defects during conception and delivery, including malnutrition is a concern in the tribal regions of Attappady. Despite targeted interventions aimed at improving the health conditions of pregnant women and adolescent girls, results are not as desired.
The health parameters of pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girls in the tribal hamlets of Attappady are being monitored by the Health Department since 2012-13 when the region witnessed 63 infant deaths.Since then, the Centre and the State had spent over ₹400 crore for enhancing the living standards of the aborigines in the region, especially women.
Despite the targeted interventions, which include the supply of nutritious meal through community kitchens, 672 tribal children in the region are suffering from malnutrition. Of this, 370 children had been found acutely malnourished, needing urgent attention.Though malnutrition had been identified as the major reason for the death of infants till last year, birth defects had been cited for the deaths this year.
A Central team that visited Attappady in May identified malnutrition in pregnant women and adolescent girls as the major cause of the high infant mortality rate.It was also found that the food supplied to pregnant women through the community kitchens was not up to the required norms.