Mission to feed malnourished kids
Coronavirus Update, Feature Articles

Mission to feed malnourished kids

August 31, 2021

Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre opens at Cheluvamba Hospital

By S.T. Ravikumar

Since a lot of experts believe that the COVID third wave would affect children, the Health Department is taking measures to address issues related to nutrition of children. Directions have been issued to officials to address malnutrition and to monitor the growth of children and provide age-appropriate complementary food. 

In this direction, a Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre has been opened at Cheluvamba Hospital in Mysuru to provide nutritious food and treatment for malnourished kids below five years of age.

 It has been opened in the Department of Paediatrics, Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC&RI) under National Health Mission, in association with UNICEF and Department of Health and Family Welfare. The Centre has been provided with 15 beds, toilets, drinking water and also play items.

Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre refers to a unit for ‘inpatient, centre-based’ care of children with severe malnutrition. Children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) are usually treated either in facility/hospital based care units without medical complications. There are 1,151 such Centres across the country and  Mysuru too has one.

At the facility, to create a homely atmosphere away from home, caricatures and cartoon characters have been drawn on the walls. The malnourished children will be identified in their respective areas by Gram Panchayat members, Anganwadi workers, Sthree Shakthi Self Help Group members, health volunteers, primary school teachers, doctors of Primary Health Centres  and send them to the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre with their mothers.

Upon arrival, the weight of every child is checked to examine the level of malnourishment and then it is recorded by doctors. While children are given nutritious food like greens, pulses, sprouts, eggs, milk and vegetables free three times a day, their health is monitored by doctors daily. The kitchen is attached to the ward.

Staying arrangements have been    made for the mothers of malnourished children and they too are given food. After discharge from the hospital, the Health Department will transfer Rs. 275 per day to the bank accounts of mothers for the number of days stayed in the hospital. 

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Since most of the women belong to Below Poverty Line (BPL) they would lose their daily earnings if they bring their kids to the Centre. To make up for that loss, they are given Rs. 275 daily. 

“On an average, 30 to 40 children are admitted to this Centre with the stay ranging from one week to ten days. The kids are discharged only after ascertaining improvement in their nutrition level,” said Dr. Sudha Rudrappa, Medical Superintendent and Paediatrician, Cheluvamba Hospital. The Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre is managed by Professor, Department of Paediatrics Dr. M.R. Savitha, Medical Officer Dr. M. Rangaswamy and Dietician Dr. Divyashree along with three nurses, one house surgeon and other staff.

Other infrastructure ramp-up

Apart from the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre, even the other Paediatric healthcare infrastructure is being ramped up. Besides Cheluvamba Hospital (a hospital for women and children attached to the MMC&RI), the Princess Krishnajammanni Super-Speciality Hospital (also attached to MMC&RI) in the PKTB campus on KRS Road is being scaled up to tackle surge in third wave. 

Many Paediatric ventilators, High Dependency Unit (HDU) beds and oxygenated beds are getting ready along with necessary infrastructure to deal with MIS-C (Multi Inflammatory Syndrome). 

Princess Krishnajammanni Super- Speciality Hospital that was converted into a COVID-19 hospital during second wave is now turned into COVID-19 Children’s Hospital with 30 Paediatric ventilators, 20 HDUs and 100 oxygenated beds.


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