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‘50% children below 6 yrs in Delhi slums are underweight’

Half of the children in the slums of Delhi are underweight, 43 per cent were found to be wasted while 45 per cent children suffer from stunting, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by NGO Child Rights and You (CRY), found only 47 per cent of total 507 children in the age group of 1-6 year, from Delhi slums are enrolled in Aanganwadis, 50 per cent did not receive Iron, Folic Acid (IFA) and Vitamin A doses while 60 per cent of parents claimed that they were not informed by the Aanganwadis that their child is malnourished. The immunisation coverage, which is most critical for a child’s survival in the first six years of his or her life, was found to be low with less than one third of the children (about 31 per cent), under the age of three years, having received at least one dose of recommended vaccination.

A gender imbalance is seen here with only 25 per cent of the girls receiving at least one dose, as compared to 39 per cent of the boys, found the study. Apart from the national Capital, this household survey on early childhood was also conducted in slums across four major metropolitans in India — Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata.

As per the survey, Chennai has the most number of children battling malnutrition in its slums with 62.2 per cent being underweight and Kolkata and Mumbai slums have 49 and 41 per cent underweight children, respectively. Bangalore fares slightly better, with 33 per cent children found to be underweight, said Soha Moitra, the Regional Director, North for CRY. Even as Aanganwadi Centres remain one of the most important institutions for ensuring nutrition, health and early education of children below six years, only 46 per cent slum kids are enrolled in them, the survey said. 
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