India is home to 1/3rd of the world’s malnourished children, says the latest “Jeevan Sparsh” magazine, a partner magazine of the World Vision India.
And mostly malnourished children are victims of superstitions, it says, citing an example of how the family believed its three-year-old daughter Uma suffered from “Sookh Mailey”, a local name for a disease that afflicts children whenever the child becomes the victim of witchcraft.
“Apparently, the symptoms of this illness are similar to those of malnutrition. (And) Uma’s parents were convinced that only a local exorcist could save their ailing daughter and no amount of medical treatment can help her recover.”
Traditions and blind beliefs take a toll on several children like Uma each year as they often misdiagnosed and they never receive the needed care and treatment to come out of their miserable situation—malnutrition.
Due to poor economic conditions and low levels of living standards coupled with lack of awareness on health and nutrition has pushed children like Uma to this pathetic state.
Though Uma’s plight was addressed by the World Vision, there are thousands of Uma across the country requiring attention.
“While malnutrition is completely preventable, sadly thousands of children die every day due to lack of awareness and resources,” claims the magazine.
Pushed to poverty and starvation, families are compelled to make hard choices, it says adding parents end up pulling their children out of school and send them to work giving away to illiteracy, loss of basic rights, child marriages, early pregnancy, malnourished children and the vicious cycle continues.
According to the “Nutrition Barometer”, jointly launched by the World Vision and Save the Children, two global organisations committed to creat lasting changes in the lives of children, claims the magazine.
The barometer was launched at the UN General Assembly in New York in September this year.
“The list had 36 countries, where 90 per cent of world’s undernourished children live and India ranked at the bottom level,” said the issue quoting World Vision India’s Project Manager K Vetriselvan John.
A sustained campaign could reduce the malnutrition problem and, with it, the medieval belief system of witchcraft.