Saturday, January 21, 2012

the scourge of hunger and tuberculosis

Raja Baiga is 9 years old and weighs 10.8 kg. That is the normal weight of a two year old child. He has tuberculosis, as do both of his parents. His father has completed treatment, the mother was only recently diagnosed to have sputum positive TB, and weighs 27 kgs herself.

A passive and sad looking child, Raja spent three weeks at Ganiyari with us. At discharge he weighed 12.4 kg, his appetite had improved, and he was more active and cheerful.

He and his mother will not go back immediately to their village Kurdar which is on top a mountain and inaccessible, but will stay at the foothills in the village of Karhikachar where his grandmother lives. There he will be enrolled in a day-care centre run by JSS (normally only for children between 6 months and 3 years of age). His diet at home will be supplemented by daily eggs and khitchdi with oil, as well as sattu.

We hope that the anti-TB medicines and the improved diet will help him overcome this infection. Is there some treatment for his chronic hunger as well?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

hungama over hunger

the recently released hungama report tells us what we already know: almost 50% of children are underweight, which means that nearly half our children go to bed hungry every night. a national shame, if there was one.

seen here is shiva of chaparwa village, grinding garlic to make a gruel to give his younger brother vishnu who was crying with hunger. there is nothing else edible at home, and both parents have gone out to work. shiva, 5, is confident he can wait till the parents earn, buy some food, and come home in the evening. he hopes the garlic and water gruel will help vishnu, 2 years old, to stave off his hunger pangs for a while.