Komal Ramdey, a volunteer at a health care camp in Goondiya, Gujarat, shares her experience of the massive level of lack of nutrition and vast unmet needs for curative health care among school-going children in rural India.
The Shocking Reality of Nutritional Status in India
Of all the forms of injustice, inequality in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane. India does not live in its towns, but in its villages. However, much of India does not live happily and healthily, especially in villages like Goondiya. A closer look at the stunningly beautiful images of Jowar(Sorghum) fields rippling in the wind and children playing games in the village campus, reveals that a quarter of those people working in the fields are chronically starved, and half of those children playing are permanently stunted through malnutrition.
The Health Care Camp in Goondiya, Gujarat
The Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Goondiya organized a health care camp aimed at promoting health awareness among school children regarding common ailments, nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation. Around 400 school children participated in this. An ASHA (Accredited social health activist) worker started the check-up process by taking height and weight measurements of these children. Later, the PHC nurse carried out the general check-up and provided medicines to those suffering from fever, cold, and sickle cell deficiency. She also taught the children about oral hygiene.
The Unmet Need for Curative Health Care among School-going Children
After the complete diagnosis, it was found that most of the school-going children were suffering from malnutrition and a common problem of stomach ache. Children in Goondiya suffer constantly from cough and cold allergies. Improper food habits, prevalent among most of them, have led to the deficiency of iron. The burden of disease and its effects were disproportionately seen in the school-going kids, with a clear gradient in illness.
Komal's experience at the health care camp taught her that there is a massive level of lack of nutrition and a vast unmet need for curative health care among the school-going children in rural India. Further, the neglect of their health has aggravated the miseries of rural people. It's essential to raise awareness about the nutritional status in India and to ensure that every child has access to proper nutrition and health care facilities. Together, we can work towards a healthier and happier India.