Chatra District of Jharkhand has one of the highest numbers of malnourishment cases in the state. As per the NFHS data 2015-16, around 50 % of the total children population of Chatra was stunted, 51% of the children population has been in the underweight category, 31% of the children populations were Moderately Acute Malnourished and around 10% of the children population was Severely Acute Malnourished.
In India, Jharkhand has been one of the leading states in terms of malnourished cases. The challenge was to create an economically viable, scalable, and sustainable solution and provide the service of a Malnourishment Treatment Centre right at the doorstep, even in the remotest corner of the district.
To address the issue and reduce its number from the current prevalence of 10-15% by the year 2022, the government launched a pilot project, Mobile Malnourishment Treatment Van in this district.
High illiteracy among women, lack of sanitation awareness on nutrition, access to sufficient nutritious food, and lack of proper healthcare are the major reasons for malnourishment among children in Jharkhand.
The incumbent government of Jharkhand is committed towards addressing this issue through different initiatives, starting from ensuring nutrient-rich food for all the expecting mothers and making other healthcare facilities available at the doorstep.
With the help of Mobile Malnourishment Treatment Van (MTV) launched in Chatra, the administration aims to curb the malnourishment prevalence in the district by 3% in the first year and 5 % in the second year.
Launched in 2020, this initiative is probably the first of its kind in Jharkhand. Mobile Malnourishment Treatment Van has been conceptualized by the District Administration of Chatra, to cater to the Malnourishment cases which require urgent care.
*Benefits of Mobile Malnourishment Treatment Van*
Not every district in Jharkhand has a sufficient number of beds at the MTC (Malnourishment Treatment Centre). The Van is serving as a temporary setup to cure malnourishment cases at a given location which can then be moved to another location after treatment as per demand.
This kind of set-up employs fewer resources and the reach increases by three-folds. A route chart has been made by the District Administration for Van’s journey from one location to another. After finishing a 15-day camp, the van moves to a different location. Initially, the camp is being set up in areas with very severe cases and a high number of underweight children are present.
*Van cum Moving MTC facility*
The Van has been equipped with all the basic minimum screening and monitoring facilities. Cooking needs (stove, pantry items, etc.), weight scale, stadiometer, MUAC /Growth Chart, and other medical check-up instruments are set up in the Van to provide services even in the remotest of the areas.
It has been conceptualized to function like a common food van equipped with kitchen items and medical equipment and staff. As a pilot project with the funds from DMFT (District Mineral Foundation Trust), one vehicle is being used for this initiative at the moment. After the successful execution and case study, the plan is to increase the number of Vans.
Since it is a day-care service, children and parents need not require getting admitted to any MTC for 15 days far away from home and getting the respective medical issue treated at home itself. Apart from this, it does not require any permanent set up/infrastructure, unlike MTC.
*Managing Human Resource*
The MTV has been equipped with a dietician, cook, a multitasking staff,f cum driver, and a supervisor to manage the camp area. Aanganwadi Workers, Poshan, Sakhi, ANMs, and Sahiyas of the respective camp area ensure that community mobilization takes place. Every child below the age of 05 years gets registered at the camp and takes part in the screening exercise.
Apart from this, a lady supervisor at block level visits the camp at regular intervals to ensure the screening exercise is being conducted in an orderly manner. On the very first day of screening, the doctor from the respective block visits the campsite.
*A society cannot be prosperous on the foundation of malnourishment: CM, Hemant Soren*
Chief. Minister, Mr. Hemant Soren commented, “We rotted towards making Jharkhand a malnourishment-free state. A society cannot prosper without healthy children.
Malnourishment is a very severe problem in Jharkhand, but our government totted on ensuring zero malnourishment in the state. To ensure nutrient-rich food in the plates of our sisters and children, Didi Badi Yojna has been launched. Other necessary steps are also shortly near future, our state will be termed as ‘Kuposhan Mukt Jharkhand’."