ChildFund India ensured that Priyanka keeps smiling

Few years back, Kalahandi district of Odisha state in India has remained in the news for all the wrong reasons as many deaths reported due to hunger and poverty in this part of the country. In popular literature and media, the Kalahandi Syndrome is something still related with hunger deaths, acute poverty, and child sale. Even today if someone visit these villages, he or she will come across children dying, and thousands suffering from malnutrition, diarrhoea, malaria and acute tuberculosis. It is also true that government has initiated many programs and the area has received much aid and assistance from the government but lot to be done to improve the quality of life of the this part of Odisha to ensure the rights of child for survival and to ensure their holistic development.

Three and half years old Priyanka is much loved by her family. Her father Fakil Duria, about 36 years, works very hard and takes care of his widow mother, wife-Harabati Duria, elder son-Rahul Duria, younger son-Ranbir Duria. Fakil Duria became worried about his daughter Priyanka who was not growing appropriately as her age. Priyanka’s family lives in Palaspani village, which has approximately 100 heterogeneous community households (others backward class, backward class, scheduled caste and scheduled tribe). The village is under Chhanchanbahali Gram Panchayat of Dharmagarh block of Kalahandi District, which is situated approximately 40 km away from the block head quarter and 88 km distance from the district head quarter. Mostly inhabitants of that locality are dependent upon agriculture and on daily labour for maintaining their livelihood. Fakir Duria had limited resource and had to work hard to fulfill the needs of his family. He had Below Poverty Line (BPL) card, issued by government but through the card, he could get limited support. As the family did not have agricultural land , it had to look for labor work on daily basis.
Priyanka’s birth as a healthy baby had brought joy in the lives of Fakir and Harabati but this joy could not be sustained for long. She was born on 4th August 2011 but after one year her health started deteriorating. Slowly she became weak, non-enthusiastic and irritated. As malnourished child, she was suffering from developmental delays, weight-loss and illness and this was as a result of inadequate intake of protein, calories and other nutrients.
ChildFund India is working in the area to ensure that every child have the right to good quality health care, clean water, nutritious food. As soon as the functionaries got to know about Priyanka’s health, her parents were contacted to get the detailed information. Co-incidentally, ChildFund India was conducting “Childhood illness management program” in Palaspani village and Priyanka’s parents were called for this programme. Priyanka’s parents met Mr. Sandeep Kumar Nag, Community Mobilizer of ChildFund India and discussed Priyanka’s problem in detail. They informed that her weight has not shown any sign of increase. Sandeep took this case very seriously and found that the girl had fallen in the red zone in the growth monitoring chart. Sandeep immediately recognized that for Priyanka’s each moment was crucial to save her life and she needed immediate specialized attention and care. He guided and helped her parents to visit the nearest Child Health Center without losing time. In Child Health Center Dr. Sanjeeb Kumar Naik, Medical Officer referred the case to Nutrition Rehabilitation Center, Dharmagarhg. Along with Anganwadi worker Priyanka was taken to the Nutrition Rehabilitate Center, Dharmagarhg and Doctor suggested them to admit her in the hospital for few days. Unfortunately Priyanka’s parents could not afford to accept this suggestion as they were daily wage laborers. To ensure food for other members of the family they have to work every day. With heavy heart they returned to their village. When Mr. Sandeep Kumar Nag, Community Mobiliser came to know about the situation; he immediately visited Priyanka’s parents and assured them help from ChildFund India. Sandeep encouraged them to take number of positive and appropriate steps to improve Priyanka’s health.

Sandeep also ensured that Priyanka regularly gets and takes supplementary nutrition – Kids Pro and Nutri Grow. Community mobilizer visited them on regular basis. Priyanka’s parents also put their serious efforts and fed Priyanka the supplementary nutrition 3 times a day along with other food. As Sandeep and Priyanka’s parents worked like a team to improve Priyanka’s situation, encouraging results were visible in her health. Gradually she was gaining weight and was becoming active. In the first quarter, she was given Kids Pro and as her weight increased she was given Nutri Grow. With this she was regularly followed up and provided care. In the meantime, with persuasion, regular guidance and sustainable mentoring Priyanka’s family behavior was also transforming which brought many good practices (in the choice of food, processing of food, timings, cleanliness, sanitation practices etc.) and the whole family was benefitting. Dedicated follow up with regular home visit brought speedy and drastic change in the Priyanka’s health. She came out from red zone to green zone in one year. Now the child is in green zone and her weight is 11.6 kg in 3.5 years of age. Fakir Duria and his entire family is again enjoying Priyanks’s lovely smiling face and lively presence in the family. She is regularly coming to Aganwadi Center. The entire family is now taking part in various ChildFund India’s programme and is trying to further improve their life. As part of sustainable support to the family, ChildFund India is working closely with the family and also in their community to ensure that all rights of children, especially right to survival could be ensured. Only timely intervention could save Priyanka’s smiles. After winning the fight for survival now she is moving ahead to be a thriving girl child with other appropriate and timely intervention through ChildFund India’s programs.