ENDANGERED SPECIES – Sudharak Olwe

According to the WHO, malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. Undernutrition includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals). So, sometimes a child may have eaten plain boiled rice and have a full tummy, but is still considered malnourished as the body lacks the proteins and vitamins from dairy and vegetables. But semantics aside, sheer hunger is also a reality in many parts of India. It was heart-wrenching to discover villages where no one – man, woman, or child – has eaten in several days.

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Exhibition opens from 10th – 13th December 2019 at 10.30am – 6.00pm at The Art Gallery, 1st Floor, Bikaner House, Pandara Road, New Delhi.

Kindly spread a word and do come.

Thanks and regards,
Sudharak Olwe

26th November World Constitution Day or Samvidhan Divas, the day the Constitution of India was adopted. Among all the other rights of a child, the right to food is one of the most basic. And yet, recent statistics show startling facts like one in three Indian children being malnourished and many falling into the category of SAM — Severe Acute Malnutrition.

I have been travelling at the grassroots level in remote areas across five states to discover and document exactly what is going wrong with our systems – social as well as administrative – that children everywhere are suffering like this. Now, I’m ready to share the results our research in an exhibition of photographs held at the Art Gallery of Bikaner House in Delhi from December 10 to 13, 2019.
The size and diversity of India is itself a factor in the slow implementation of various programmes to reduce malnutrition among children. The Angan Wadi Workers (AWWs) are women with some basic education and a lot of enthusiasm for helping others in their village and surrounding areas. While they do their best under the circumstances, I found that many of them lacked adequate training for using new equipment like gadgets to measure a baby’s height or the tablet-based CAS (Common Application Software) that has been introduced in some states to replace the voluminous registers that all the children’s data is recorded in.
Although the legal age for an Indian woman to be married is 18, during my recent research I encountered many young mothers across India, who had clearly been married when they were just entering their teens. Anemic and under-developed physically, mentally and emotionally, they are ill-equipped to bring up healthy children. I found that offspring of such under-age mothers are often severely malnourished.
Endangered Species: Malnutrition stalks Indias children
In my efforts to find out more about why malnutrition is
so widespread across our country, I found that although parents may be willing to travel long distances and give up their daily wages, sometimes medical care is still not available to their SAM child. This is because most Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs) have just 10 beds and cater to the needs of several surrounding villages and there is often a long waiting list. More and better equipped NRCs are the need of the hour.
Endangered Species: Malnutrition stalks Indias children
On my recent travels through five Indian states, I encountered several cases of severely malnourished children. Considered both a medical and
social disorder, Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is defined by very low weight for height, or a low mid-upper arm circumference, or by the
presence of bipedal nutritional oedema. SAM is an acute condition and afflicted children will either recover or die within a few weeks. Cases are
usually divided into two categories – those with medical complications such as diarrhoea, fever, and pneumonia, needing facility-based care and
those without complications, who can be managed in the community.
Malnutrition and hunger are plaguing our future generation and we HAVE to work 24/7 to change this sorry state of affairs.

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