Orissa villagers want village crèches to be more responsive to their needs

Bolangir (Orissa), Dec.2 (ANI): Scores of villagers accompanied by their malnourished children expressed their problems at the public hearing organised by the district social welfare office in Orissa's Bolangir District on Thursday.

Most of their woes centered on the state-run village crèches that did not function to their expectation.

Village crèches or 'Anganwadis' are community-based centers that cater to the basic health needs with trained health workers, who make weekly visits for vaccination drives and regular health check-ups.

Padmini, a mother of two, who had come all the way from Dariapad village, said the health workers did not take care of her son, who was suffering from some skin allergy.

"I don't know what the disease is, but my son keeps scratching all over his body. I informed about this problem to the village workers, they instead asked me to take him to hospital. They did not even bother checking him properly. I don't have money to take him to a hospital," said Padmini.

Villagers said even the teachers did not turn up at the crèches, which are supposed to impart basic literacy to the village children.

They complained that the health workers did not even weigh the toddlers in line with the government policy to weed out malnourishment.

"The village crèche workers don't come to teach in the crèche. There is no availability of food at the crèche and we are not able to measure weight of the infants. My child has not been weighed even once. The food that is given is also very less in quantity," said Jayanti Putel, from Khuripaen village.

However, the authorities said efforts were being made to set the situation right.

"We keep on weighing children in the village crèches, as weight is an important parameter in knowing the nutritional status of a child. In some places, the weighing machines are not working properly and we have sent a requisition to the government for the same," said Prativa Mohanty, District (Bolangir) Social Welafare Officer.

"In such villages we have also asked workers to hire weighing machines to weigh children," she added. By Sarada Lahangir (ANI)

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