India's new wealth not well distributed: One-third of children in New Delhi slums malnourished
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/4/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
India's capital of New Delhi, with a population of 16 million people, has enjoyed prosperity over the last two decades. The city features an underground train network, designer office blocks and gleaming shopping malls. However, the wealth has been unevenly distributed. India has long failed to wipe out the mass hunger that runs rampant in the alleyways of its urban slums.
Throughout India, 42 percent of children under five years of age are underweight, 16 percent are severely malnourished, and almost 70 percent are anemic.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - More than one-third of children younger than five years of age here are malnourished. The conductors of the survey concluded that this proved that current government health schemes for children were not reaching the poor.
The Indian government has spent billions of dollars on welfare schemes over the past several years, but social activists say these are often badly run programs riddled with corruption and that little of the money reaches the poor.
Carried out by the charity Child Rights and You, or CRY, the organization found that 36 percent of 3,650 children surveyed in Delhi's slums lacked nutritious food and were underweight. One third of that percentage showed signs of severe wasting.
Malnutrition was higher among girls than boys at 38 percent against 34 percent, the survey found.
"The fast pace of urbanization poses a significant challenge to children living in urban slums," CRY Associate General Manager Jaya Singh said in a statement.
"It is especially challenging for newborns and infants whose health entirely depends on the availability of the mother to breastfeed, the ability of the caregiver and household to provide nutritious meals, the quality of the public healthcare system and overall community support."
India has some of the worst child malnutrition rates in the world, higher than parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Throughout India, 42 percent of children under five years of age are underweight, 16 percent are severely malnourished, and almost 70 percent are anemic - prompting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call the problem "a national shame."
The study also found that bottle-feeding, child marriage and discrimination against women were occurring in slum communities with little awareness that they were contributing to child malnutrition.
Even worse, More than 50 percent of the malnourished children did not have access to clean drinking water and defecated in the open, leading to frequent bouts of water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, the survey found.
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