Malnutrition harming Madhya Pradesh kids: Unicef


Gwalior : High levels of malnutrition and low immunisation have made children in Madhya Pradesh the most vulnerable in India, Unicef said Tuesday.

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Speaking to reporters here, Unicef officials said the organisation is launching three immunisation drives against measles, will cover 20 lakh children in seven districts of the state.

“The ratio of children dying from measles is 1.6 percent, while it is 10 times more in malnourished kids. So, we are taking this special drive very seriously and extending all support to state health department,” said Gagan Gupta, health specialist at the Unicef office for Madhya Pradesh.

“Measles is one of the major killers of the children in Madhya Pradesh and in India, where about one lakh die every year of the disease,” he added.

According to the state health department, 58 percent of children are still left out of immunisation, while 60 percent of children are malnourished in state.

The Madhya Pradesh government is celebrating 2011-12 as the ‘Immunisation Year’.

The round is being conducted as per central government guidelines, wherein 14 states which had measles coverage of less then 80 percent were earmarked. Among the major states of India, Madhya Pradesh’s immunisation record is better than only Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The round will start from Sep 12 and will continue for three weeks. All children between age group of 9 months to 10 years will be vaccinated against measles, including those children who have received measles vaccine earlier.

State Immunisation Coordinator Ashwin Bhagwat said the districts which will be covered in this round are Guna, Ashok Nagar, Datia, Bhind, Morena, Sheopur and Gwalior.

Anil Gulati, communication specialist at Unicef’s state office, said that media can play a role in creating awareness for the round.

He said active media engagement and routine immunisation will help create awareness among people.