Over 93 lakh children have severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in the country, the government today said, citing data from the latest health survey. Minister of State for Health Faggan Singh Kulaste told the Rajya Sabha that there are 966 Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs) in 25 states and UTs in the country. “It is estimated that around 93.4 lakh children are having severe acute malnutrition (SAM) as per National Family Health Survey (NFHS)–4 and out of this, 10 per cent of SAM with medical complications may require admission to NRCs,” he said in a written reply.
Kulaste said the total number of children enrolled at the NRCs in the year 2015-16 was around 1.7 lakh. During the year 2015-16, out of the 1,72,902 children enrolled in the NRCs, 92,760 were able to successfully recover from the above mentioned conditions.
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The minister said that under National Health Mission NRCs have been set up at public health facilities to treat and manage the children with SAM admitted with medical complications. Children are admitted as per the defined admission criteria and provided with medical and nutritional therapeutic care, he said.
The services and care provided for the in-patient management of SAM children include 24 hour care and monitoring of the child, treatment of medical complications, therapeutic feeding, providing sensory stimulation and emotional care, social assessment of the family to identify and address contributing factors among others, he said. WHO defines severe acute malnutrition as condition in children characterisied by very low weight for height (below -3z scores of the median WHO growth standards), by visible severe wasting, or by the presence of nutritional oedema.