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

4,29,71,161Cases
1,28,60,263Active
2,89,57,428Recovered
11,53,470Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 189 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 4,29,71,161 and 11,53,470 have died; 1,28,60,263 are active cases and 2,89,57,428 have recovered as on October 26, 2020 at 3:48 am.

India

79,09,959 45148Cases
6,53,717 -14437Active
71,37,228 59105Recovered
1,19,014 480Deaths
In India, there are 79,09,959 confirmed cases including 1,19,014 deaths. The number of active cases is 6,53,717 and 71,37,228 have recovered as on October 26, 2020 at 2:30 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
DistrictCases
Mumbai45,478
Thane13,660
Pune9,920
Mumbai Suburban5,363
Aurangabad1,974
Nashik1,575
Raigad1,462
Palghar1,421
Solapur1,291
Jalgaon1,039
Akola757
Nagpur692
Kolhapur646
Satara629
Ratnagiri350
Amravati291
Dhule228
Hingoli208
Jalna201
Ahmednagar190
Nanded176
Yavatmal150
Sangli145
Latur139
Osmanabad125
Sindhudurg114
Buldhana88
Parbhani78
gondia69
Beed54
Nandurbar42
Gadchiroli42
Bhandara41
Chandrapur32
Washim13
Wardha11

16,45,020 6,059

1,41,001 299

14,60,755 5,648

43,264 112

DistrictCases
Kurnool795
Krishna557
Guntur511
Anantapur428
East Godavari356
Chittoor319
Sri Potti Sriramulu Nell*296
Y.S.R.205
West Godavari199
Srikakulam183
Prakasam104
Visakhapatnam103
Vizianagaram23

8,07,023 2,997

30,860 609

7,69,576 3,585

6,587 21

DistrictCases
Udupi1,176
Kalaburagi669
Yadgir538
Bengaluru Urban529
Raichur369
Mandya346
Belagavi337
Bidar219
Hassan205
Davangere204
Vijayapura201
Dakshina Kannada179
Chikkaballapura149
Mysuru107
Bagalkote103
Uttara Kannada95
Shivamogga67
Dharwad61
Ballari60
Gadag45
Bengaluru Rural40
Tumakuru36
Kolar29
Haveri24
Chikkamagaluru19
Chitradurga14
Koppal5
Kodagu4
Ramanagara3
Chamarajanagara0

8,02,817 4,439

81,069 5,699

7,10,843 10,106

10,905 32

DistrictCases
Chennai23,324
Chengalpattu1,314
Thiruvallur774
Villupuram509
Kanchipuram503
Tiruvannamalai496
Cuddalore477
Ariyalur444
Tirunelveli433
Tuticorin333
Kallakurichi324
Madurai322
Salem258
Coimbatore188
Virudhunagar185
Dindigul175
Perambalur133
Ranipet133
Thanjavur130
Theni129
Tiruchirappalli119
Ramanathapuram119
Tiruppur116
Kanniyakumari110
Tenkasi103
Nagapattinam99
Karur88
Namakkal83
Erode75
Vellore71
Thiruvarur67
Pudukkottai53
Sivaganga46
Tirupathur45
Krishnagiri43
The Nilgiris17
Dharmapuri15

7,09,005 2,869

30,606 1,181

6,67,475 4,019

10,924 31

DistrictCases
Gautam Buddha Nagar1,119
Agra933
Ghaziabad794
Meerut504
Lucknow386
Saharanpur298
Kanpur Nagar286
Moradabad252
Varanasi243
Hapur225
Aligarh215
Basti214
Amethi206
Rampur203
Jaunpur194
Firozabad190
Barabanki168
Gorakhpur166
Bulandshahr166
Siddharth Nagar159
Ghazipur159
Bijnor157
Deoria143
Azamgarh138
Sant Kabeer Nagar132
Mathura129
Ayodhya120
Muzaffarnagar117
Sambhal116
Sultanpur97
Ambedkar Nagar92
Maharajganj85
Amroha80
Rae Bareli78
Bahraich73
Kheri72
Kannauj69
Baghpat68
Kushi Nagar67
Bhadohi60
Ballia60
Gonda59
Etah52
Hardoi49
Balrampur49
Mau48
Mainpuri46
Etawah46
Hathras43
Unnao42
Jalaun41
Jhansi41
Shamli40
Chandauli38
Auraiya37
Farrukhabad36
Sitapur32
Prayagraj30
Banda27
Shahjahanpur25
Shravasti23
Budaun23
Mirzapur22
Bareilly17
Kasganj16
Pratapgarh15
Pilibhit15
Sonbhadra10
Kaushambi6
Kanpur Dehat4
Chitrakoot4
Lalitpur3
Hamirpur3
Mahoba3
Fatehpur3

4,70,270 2,032

27,317 364

4,36,071 2,368

6,882 28

DistrictCases
Kannur357
Kasaragod333
Palakkad224
Malappuram119
Kollam118
Thrissur106
Thiruvananthapuram104
Pathanamthitta98
Kozhikode90
Alappuzha76
Kottayam73
Ernakulam60
Idukki40
Wayanad36

3,92,930 6,843

96,688 832

2,94,910 7,649

1,332 26

DistrictCases
North West5,463
Central4,817
West4,768
New Delhi3,405
North3,059
East2,472
South East2,446
South West2,391
South2,329
North East1,914
Shahdara1,580

3,56,656 4,136

26,744 277

3,23,654 3,826

6,258 33

DistrictCases
Kolkata2,777
Howrah1,435
24 Paraganas North1,031
Hooghly604
24 Paraganas South281
Maldah235
Dinajpur Uttar216
Coochbehar210
Birbhum206
Medinipur West159
Medinipur East153
Nadia139
Purba Bardhaman130
Murshidabad125
Bankura116
Darjeeling97
Jalpaiguri88
Paschim Bardhaman70
Purulia66
Dinajpur Dakshin50
Alipurduar39
Kalimpong18
Jhargram9

3,49,701 4,127

37,017 210

3,06,197 3,857

6,487 60

DistrictCases
Ganjam581
Jajapur322
Khordha238
Baleshwar190
Kendrapara164
Cuttack155
Bhadrak137
Balangir129
Puri103
Sundargarh102
Jagatsinghapur91
Nayagarh86
Mayurbhanj73
Nuapada69
Gajapati61
Dhenkanal36
Boudh34
Kendujhar34
Deogarh33
Kalahandi33
Sonepur29
Kandhamal28
Anugul26
Malkangiri20
Bargarh16
Koraput16
Sambalpur16
Jharsuguda8
Nabarangpur2
Rayagada2

2,81,215 1,633

15,868 454

2,64,102 2,071

1,245 16

DistrictCases
Hyderabad2,475
Ranga Reddy183
Suryapet87
Jagitial77
Nizamabad76
MedchalMalkajgiri75
Mancherial43
YadadriBhuvanagiri40
Jogulamba Gadwal40
Vikarabad40
Nalgonda33
Warangal Urban32
Mahabubnagar30
Sangareddy26
Khammam26
Adilabad22
Nirmal21
Karimnagar17
RajannaSircilla16
Medak11
Kamareddy11
Mahabubabad10
Jayashankar Bhupalapally9
Nagarkurnool8
Kumuram Bheem Asifabad8
Jangoan8
Siddipet7
Peddapalli5
Bhadradri Kothagudem5
Warangal Rural4
Mulugu3
Narayanpet3
Wanaparthy1

2,31,834 582

18,611 854

2,11,912 1,432

1,311 4

DistrictCases
Patna279
Bhagalpur266
Rohtas256
Khagaria253
Begusarai243
Madhubani199
Munger188
Jehanabad178
Katihar175
Darbhanga143
Samastipur139
Siwan139
PurbiChamparan138
Purnia135
Banka134
Buxar134
Nalanda123
Gopalganj123
Nawada122
Sheikhpura118
Gaya115
Kaimur (bhabua)105
Bhojpur103
Saran101
Muzaffarpur96
Saharsa88
Supaul87
Vaishali87
Madhepura82
Kishanganj75
Aurangabad75
Sitamarhi73
Lakhisarai72
Araria68
Pashchim Champaran57
Arwal52
Jamui47
Sheohar20

2,11,689 431

9,722 737

2,00,918 1,161

1,049 7

DistrictCases
Kamrup Metro276
Golaghat203
Nagaon143
Hojai89
Dima Hasao86
Karimganj85
Tinsukia84
Cachar80
Dibrugarh61
Hailakandi57
Lakhimpur57
Marigaon50
Dhemaji47
Kamrup42
Kokrajhar37
Dhubri30
Charaideo29
Barpeta28
Udalguri28
Sonitpur27
Jorhat24
Nalbari23
Darrang20
Sivasagar20
Goalpara19
Biswanath16
Baksa14
KarbiAnglong13
Bongaigaon12
Chirang6
West KarbiAnglong5
South SalmaraMancachar4
Majuli2

2,04,171 204

17,510 2,761

1,85,755 2,961

906 4

DistrictCases
Jaipur2,177
Jodhpur1,748
Udaipur724
Bharatpur563
Kota503
Nagaur500
Ajmer379
Dungarpur374
Pali352
Jhalawar329
Bhilwara250
Sikar231
Chittorgarh188
Tonk171
Jalore164
Rajsamand140
Sirohi130
Bikaner112
Banswara91
Alwar90
Churu81
Jhunjhunu64
Dausa61
Dholpur60
Baran59
Jaisalmer53
Barmer34
Hanumangarh31
SawaiMadhopur26
Karauli17
Pratapgarh14
Ganganagar8
Bundi5

1,86,243 1,821

16,668 432

1,67,736 2,240

1,839 13

DistrictCases
Bilaspur100
Korba100
Mungeli87
Baloda Bazar85
Jashpur77
Janjgir-Champa56
Mahasamund54
Rajnandgaon52
Kabirdham52
Raigarh47
Raipur46
Balod41
Korea39
Durg31
Bemetara21
Kanker19
Balrampur17
Surguja14
Gariyaband10
Surajpur9
Dhamtari6
Bijapur2
Bastar2
Dantewada0
Kondagaon0
Narayanpur0
Sukma0

1,75,959 1,368

23,743 156

1,50,398 1,499

1,818 25

DistrictCases
Indore3,839
Bhopal1,880
Ujjain799
Burhanpur351
Neemuch319
Jabalpur276
East Nimar266
Sagar228
Gwalior211
Khargone196
Dewas140
Dhar132
Mandsaur112
Morena109
Bhind87
Raisen71
Barwani60
Ratlam51
Rewa39
Shajapur39
Hoshangabad37
Vidisha37
Chhatarpur35
Betul35
Rajgarh31
Dindori29
Sheopur26
Damoh26
Satna24
Anuppur22
Panna20
Tikamgarh18
Sidhi17
Narsinghpur17
Chhindwara16
Agar Malwa15
Mandla15
Shivpuri15
Jhabua14
Shandol14
Singrauli13
Ashoknagar13
Datia12
Sehore12
Umaria10
Balaghat9
Guna8
Harda4
Alirajpur3
Katni3
Seoni2
Niwari0

1,67,249 951

11,237 240

1,53,127 1,181

2,885 10

DistrictCases
Ahmadabad17,125
Surat2,311
Vadodara1,555
Gandhinagar410
Mahesana159
Banas Kantha147
Bhavnagar146
Rajkot135
Arvalli134
Mahisagar125
Anand107
PanchMahals107
Patan105
SabarKantha101
Kachchh99
Kheda98
Jamnagar63
Bharuch56
Botad55
Surendranagar55
Valsad47
GirSomnath45
Dohad43
Chhotaudepur37
Naysari35
Junagadh31
Narmada25
DevbhumiDwarka22
Amreli16
Porbandar11
Tapi6
Dang5
Morbi4

1,67,011 919

13,914 51

1,49,411 963

3,686 7

DistrictCases
Gurugram2,950
Faridabad867
Sonipat404
Rohtak145
Palwal120
Jhajjar114
Karnal104
Hisar98
Ambala93
Panipat78
Nuh68
Bhiwani60
Rewari56
Kurukshetra55
Sirsa50
Kaithal48
Mahendragarh47
CharkiDadri43
Panchkula39
Fatehabad38
Jind38
Yamunanagar19

1,58,304 1,240

10,295 147

1,46,282 1,086

1,727 7

DistrictCases
Amritsar485
Jalandhar297
Ludhiana293
Tarn Taran163
Gurdaspur154
Hoshiarpur140
S.A.S Nagar137
Patiala132
Sangrur107
Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr)99
Pathankot86
Rupnagar (Ropar)74
Faridkot74
Sri Muktsar Sahib71
Moga65
Bathinda60
Fatehgarh Sahib57
Fazilka53
Firozepur50
Kapurthala44
Mansa31
Barnala25

1,31,055 415

4,217 60

1,22,721 465

4,117 10

DistrictCases
East Singhbum170
Ranchi148
Hazaribagh110
Garhwa80
Ramgarh75
Koderma58
Simdega48
Dhanbad32
Gumla28
Palamu27
West Singhbhum21
SaraikelaKharsawan20
Giridih19
Bokaro16
Latehar14
Khunti10
Lohardaga8
Deoghar5
Dumka5
Pakur4
Jamtara2
Godda2
Chatra1
Sahebganj0

99,686 258

5,844 122

92,976 378

866 2

DistrictCases
Anantnag395
Srinagar300
Kulgam295
Baramulla271
Shopian255
Kupwara231
Bandipora175
Udhampur155
Ramban151
Jammu138
Budgam110
Pulwama108
Kathua53
Rajouri39
Ganderbal37
Poonch35
Doda27
Reasi26
Samba25
Kishtwar10
Mirpur0
Muzaffarabad0

91,861 532

7,565 115

82,858 639

1,438 8

DistrictCases
Dehradun370
Nainital323
Tehri Garhwal110
Haridwar94
Udam Singh Nagar83
Almora71
Champawat45
Pithoragarh43
Chamoli36
PauriGarhwal36
Bageshwar31
Rudraprayag30
Uttar Kashi24

60,376 221

4,425 117

54,958 329

993 9

DistrictCases
South Goa69
North Goa57

42,242 211

2,576 116

39,090 321

576 6

DistrictCases
Pondicherry111
Mahe4
Karaikal2
Yanam0

34,193 81

3,804 108

29,801 187

588 2

DistrictCases
Dhalai196
Sepahijala174
Gomati74
South Tripura53
Unakoti49
West Tripura45
Khowai24
North Tripura14

30,257 36

1,845 147

28,069 183

343

DistrictCases
Hamirpur117
Kangra105
Una41
Solan32
Chamba29
Bilaspur21
Mandi21
Sirmaur11
Shimla10
Kullu4
Kinnaur2
Lahaul And Spiti0

20,370 157

2,489 116

17,590 272

291 1

DistrictCases
Churachandpur32
Kangpokpi26
Imphal West21
Thoubal18
Imphal East10
Tengnoupal9
Bishnupur7
Senapati6
Chandel5
Kamjong5
Ukhrul4
Jiribam3
Pherzawl3
Kakching2
Tamenglong2
Noney1

17,162 140

4,166 1

12,857 138

139 1

DistrictCases
Changlang31
Papum Pare8
Lohit3
Namsai2
West Siang1
East Siang1
Upper Siang1
Tawang1
PakkeKessang1
West Kameng0
Upper Subansiri0
Tirap0
Siang0
Shi Yomi0
Anjaw0
Lower Subansiri0
Lower Dibang Valley0
Longding0
Leparada0
KurungKumey0
KraDaadi0
Kamle0
East Kameng0
Dibang Valley0
Lower Siang0

14,244 33

2,260 137

11,951 170

33

DistrictCases
Chandigarh313

14,038 61

653 21

13,167 80

218 2

DistrictCases
East Khasi Hills22
West Garo Hills5
South West Garo Hills4
North Garo Hills1
West Jaintia Hills1
West Khasi Hills1
East Garo Hills0
East Jaintia Hills0
Ribhoi0
South Garo Hills0
South West Khasi Hills0

9,018 136

1,605 31

7,332 104

81 1

DistrictCases
Dimapur20
Mon8
Kohima7
Kiphire3
Tuensang3
Peren2
Phek1
Longleng0
Mokokchung0
Wokha0
Zunheboto0

8,626 111

1,871 54

6,724 56

31 1

DistrictCases
Kargil77
LehLadakh43

5,933 20

736 54

5,126 74

71

DistrictCases
South Andamans33
Nicobars1
North And Middle Andaman1

4,245 20

204 5

3,983 15

58

DistrictCases
East District3
South District3
North District0
West District0

3,835 16

246 20

3,525 35

64 1

DistrictCases
Dadra And Nagar Haveli20

3,228 3

51 1

3,175 2

2

DistrictCases
Kolasib11
Aizawl10
Mamit8
Lawngtlai2
Lunglei2
Saitual1
Champhai0
Hnahthial0
Khawzawl0
Saiha0
Serchhip0

2,493 46

290 41

2,203 5

0

DistrictCases
Lakshadweep District0

0

0 0

0

0

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