Publihed on CNN-IBN, by Mridu Bhandari, 29 March, 2008.
Two million children in India die and turn into statistics every year. That’s about 6,000 deaths everyday. A CNN-IBN Special Investigation travelled to the rural heartlands of UP to document deaths and cases of malnutrition for a special edition of 30 Minutes. Here’s the first installment from UP’s Varanasi and Lalitpur districts.
Jaharunnissah lost her only son to hunger about two months ago. Four-year-old Khusbuddin was emaciated and weighed a mere 6.5 kg at the time of his death. Jaharunnissah lost her only son to hunger about two months ago. Four-year-old Khusbuddin was emaciated and weighed a mere 6.5 kg at the time of his death …
… Very often, there are no medical facilities. Primary health centres in many places are understaffed and almost non-functional.
Says Dr Sanjeev Kumar of Primary Health Centre (Hingora), PHC mein rehne ke liye doctors ko staff milna chahiye, ward boy hona chahiye, sweeper hona chahiye, nurses honi chahiye kuch bhi nahin hain. final toh patient ko hi face karna hoga (We need doctors, sweepers, nurses and ward boys to run a PHC. There’s nothing here. Ultimately the patient has to suffer).
Abject poverty, lack of basic health care facilities and poor health of rural women are all killing India’s underpriviledged, malnourished children. The country has consistently has let down children like Shamim and today malnutrition rates in India are even worse than Sub Saharan Africa. (full text).
(Watch the half-hour special – Small, Hungry & Dying – Saturday 9:30 pm & Sunday at 5:30 pm on CNN-IBN)