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INDIA: No government programme supports severely malnourished child in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) that four-year-old Ibran suffers from Grade IV malnutrition which falls in the category of Severely Acute Malnutrition (SAM). Despite complaints by the human rights activist, the administration has failed to have him treated free of charge. In addition no government programmes guaranteeing food and health security has so far reached Ibran's family. Ghazipur District in particular has the highest numbers of severely malnourished children in Uttar Pradesh.

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) that four-year-old Ibran suffers from Grade IV malnutrition which falls in the category of Severely Acute Malnutrition (SAM). Despite complaints by the human rights activist, the administration has failed to have him treated free of charge. In addition no government programmes guaranteeing food and health security has so far reached Ibran's family. Ghazipur District in particular has the highest numbers of severely malnourished children in Uttar Pradesh.

CASE DETAILS:

On August 19 2009, four-year-old Ibran was diagnosed as severely malnourished weighing 9.5 kilograms (enrollment No. 105939, serial No 39) by Dr. Mukhtar Ahamed Ansari, District Hospital in Gazipur District. Ibran is son of Mr. Firoz who lives with his wife and five children including Ibran in Chitrakoni village, Sihani, Jamaniya Block, Ghazipur District.

Ibran’s father Firoz works as a casual daily labourer earning 60 rupees (USD 1.2) a day which is the only income source at present. His family has a small piece of land which his brother rented to neighbor to manage his wife's treatment. His daily income is neither regular nor sufficient to manage enough food for all the families. Thus each family member suffers hunger on a daily basis and the youngest son Ibran in particular has been exposed to severe malnutrition due to lack of adequate and nutrition balanced food.

Hameeda, Ibran’s mother has been suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) for the past three years. Her health condition has been aggravated due to food scarcity as she requires not only sufficient food but also nutritious food while being treated. The extreme poverty the family is encountering does not allow appropriate treatment for her.

Despite the extremely poor living conditions, Ibran’s family has not received any governmental supports to guarantee food security by providing subsidized food, public health care free of charge or nutrition supplies for emergency etc. The Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration card for the poorest among the poor under the Public Food Distribution System (PDS) has never been issued to Ibran’s family. The Child Care Centre (Anganwadi Centre; AWC) in the village providing supplementary food and health care for the children under age of six has never taken care of Ibran so far. As a result of this neglect, Ibran’s condition is such that he cannot properly stand on his feet. In addition, owing to the poverty, Ibran’s eldest sister Roji (14 years old) had to give up her schooling.

On June 22, 2009, Kaji Sujjauddin, a human rights defender sent a letter to District Magistrate of Gazipur asking for food subsidy and social security to Ibran family. In the response of his complaint, on July 9 Chief Medical officer of Gazipur responding to the District Magistrate directed the Primary Health Center (PHC) to get Ibran’s mother Hameeda treated.

Hameeda was diagnosed with TB by X-ray examination. Under the DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course) programme designed for the TB patients, she has being treated with the help of Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA). On the contrary, despite referred to the District Hospital, Ibran could not get treated as his parents could not afford to manage the expenses. The administration has not taken any substantial steps on behalf of Ibran who is currently being taken care of by human rights defenders.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

According to the recent annual survey report by the Centre under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), among five States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, Ghazipur district has the highest number of children suffering from severe malnourishment.

It is reported that the office of the district child development programme announced that in Ghazipur, out of the 163,150 children under the age of ten, 5,532 children are severely malnourished.

AWCs is a primary unit at the village level to ensure food security and health care for the child under age of six providing supplementary food for vitamin A in particular as well as vaccines. The children from poor families are given priority at AWCs. In addition, once the child was found malnourished, the AWC workers have to immediately refer the child to other health institutions to get a child treated properly. Accordingly, AWCs need to keep records of all the children which should be regularly followed up by the workers. The records are supposed to be reflected in making policy decision regarding health care and food security for the children in particular.

However, Ibran' case alone clearly discloses that the children in the villages have no accessibility to food security as well as health security. The district administration as well as state government has reviewed the child health care by doing survey in 2009 and announced that they would take step to improve the situation. Despite this, Ibran's plight exactly exposes how the government neglect deprives the children of food and health security.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write a letter to express your deep concern about Ibran suffering from severe malnutrition. The AHRC has also written a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Food calling for intervention into this case.

To support this appeal please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA: Please take immediate action for four-year-old Ibran suffering from severe malnutrition in Ghazipur

Name of malnourished child: Ibran, son of Firoz living in Chitrakoni village, Sihani, Jamaniya Block, Ghazipur District, Uttar Pradesh
The relevant government authorities neglecting malnourished child:
1. Officials engaged in Public Food Distribution System in Ghazipur District as well as in state
2. Officials engaged in Integrated Child Development System in Ghazipur District as well as in state

I am writing to express my deep concern about four-year-old Ibran who is struggling against severe malnutrition. On August 19 2009, Ibran was diagnosed as being severely malnourished weighing 9.5 kilograms (enrollment No. 105939, serial No 39) by Dr. Mukhtar Ahamed Ansari, District Hospital in Gazipur District.

Ibran is the youngest son of Mr. Firoz living with his wife and other three children in Chitrakoni village, Sihani, Jamaniya Block, Ghazipur District.

I am informed that family has been suffering from extreme poverty for years. Firoz’ family has a small piece of land which his brother rented to the neighbor to get his wife treated. At present, the only income source for the family is Firoz’s irregular daily work from which he hardly manages INR 60 (USD 1.2) a day. The family neither has a means to access food like farm land nor has purchasing power. All the family members go to sleep with empty stomachs everyday and the youngest son Ibran in particular has been exposed to malnutrition. In addition, Ibran’s mother has been suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) for the past three years and the eldest child had to give up her schooling.

I am further informed that despite this absolute poverty, the family has never received any support from the government programmes guaranteeing food and health security. The workers from Anganwadi centre (Child care centre; AWCs) have never visited Ibran for regular check-ups or provided supplementary food. Likewise, governmental subsidized food has never provided to Ibran’s family.

Only after the complaint by the human rights defender Kaji Sujjauddin, supporting Ibran’s family on 22 June 2009, the administration started paying attention to the family. Ibran’s mother can currently get treated under the DOTS programme designed for the TB patients. On the contrary, Ibran referred to the District Hospital has not been properly treated so far since the family cannot afford to manage the expenses. The administration did not take substantial step to get Ibran treated properly so as to be free from malnutrition.

I was not surprised to learn that Ghazipur district has the highest number of children suffering from severe malnourishment among five States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi according to the report of 2009. It is because Ibran’s case apparently proves the fact disclosed by the report.

I therefore, urge you to take immediate action to get Ibran treated free of charge. To be free from hunger, please ensure that all the government programmes reach to Ibran’s family.

I will look forward to prompt and substantial response from you.

Yours sincerely,

----------------

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Ms. Mayawati
Chief Minister
Chief Minister's Secretariat
Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh
INDIA
Fax: + 91 522 223 0002 / 223 9234
E-mail: csup@up.nic.in

2. The Director
Department of Women Welfare & Child Development,
Government of Uttar Pradesh,
Jawahar Bhawan, Ashok Marg,
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
INDIA
Fax: +91 522 228 6140

3. Commissioner
Varanasi Division
Kutchahry, Varanasi
Uttar Pradesh
INDIA
Fax: +91-542-2282345
Email: commvar@up.nic.in

4. District Magistrate
Gazipur District
Uttar Pradesh
INDIA
Email: dmgaz@up.nic.in

5. Country Director
World Food Programme
2 Poorvi Marg, Vasant Vihar
New Delhi 110057
INDIA
Fax: +91 112 615 0019
E-mail: wfp.newdelhi@wfp.org

6. UNICEF
73 Lodi Estates
New Delhi 110 003
INDIA
Fax: + 91 11 2462 7521 / 11 2469 1410
E-mail: newdelhi@unicef.org

Thank you.

Right to Food Programme (foodjustice@ahrc.asia)
Urgent Appeal Programme (ua@ahrc.asia)
Asian Human Rights Commission

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