Case studies

The story of Abhijit Baski : In the Green Zone of Health

9 November, 2023
Written consent was received from all the persons portrayed in this story

Abhijit Baski, aged 4yr 9 months, is a healthy and happy ‘CINI Nutrimix baby’ having been fed CINI Nutrimix regularly along with other food. Abhijit was detected as severely underweight at a screening camp for children 0-5 years at the ICDS centre, in Kurulia village when he was 2.5 yrs old. The Anganwadi worker (AWW) along with CINI’s Suswasthya Project Staff Anuradha, had conducted a screening camp where Abhijit was detected in the severely underweight category or ‘Red zone’. Born in the hospital, Abhijit had weighed 3.5 kgs at birth. Subsequently, he slipped into the red zone of malnourishment. Abhijit’s Mother, Bahamoni admits that he was neglected when she had to give all her attention to her sick son who was epileptic and subject to fits. Bahamoni hardly had time to cook and so Abhijit was left to himself. “He ate whatever he could find on his own, also wasted some; there was no one to take care. He must have lost weight then. There was no one to guide us” says Bahamoni. Neglect was not willful. Bahamoni has to go to the fields to work. Her husband works in the mines and is seldom at home. Thus, she is the sole caregiver to her 3 sons aged 18 yrs, 13 yrs and Abhijeet, the youngest. “I have to work in all seasons. There is no one to look after my children at home. Rain, shade or sunshine, they have to adjust. Being poor, we have no choice.”

Identifying the malnourished children at the screening camp was the starting point. Abhijit is not a standalone case. Out of the 30 children screened at the camp, 15 were found to be malnourished. Along with the frontline workers, the CINI Project Staff checked the weight, height of the children and the date of birth from the MCP card (since DOB is not always known to the mothers); plotted the measurement on the growth chart of each child and counselled each mother separately regarding their child and what they should feed their children. This was followed by continuous monitoring and follow-up visits by the CINI Staffs along with the frontline workers. Post screening, CINI’s Suwasthya Project Staff visited Abhijit’s house and counselled the mother on care and diet of Abhijit in addition to group meetings with other mothers. “Anuradha Didi told me that my baby was underweight. I should take good care of him, feed him three proper nutritious meals, maintain hygiene, and ensure that he didn’t walk around barefoot. She also showed me the measures for wheat, rice, and dal to make a nutritious khichdi for my son. I could add whatever vegetables I grow in my yard to make it more nutritious.” Meetings with the mothers were held at the ICDS Centres where the nutrition demonstration camp was held. “We learned about making dry Nutrimix, khichdi,and laddoos; proper cooking practices, health and hygiene, and care of new-borns and young children. All the mothers listened because there are many children who are in the Yellow Zone. My son is now in Green but I try share what I learned and show them how to make Nutrimix.” The colours of nutrition status of the child are all known to Bahamoni. She has her Mother Child Protection (MCP) Card and is able to track Abhijit’s weight on it. Each mother tracked by CINI Staff has been given an individual chart for growth monitoring and creating awareness among the mothers regarding nutritional status of her child. This has helped them learn basic growth monitoring of their children. The most significant outcome is that all the fifteen children including Abhijit, who were identified malnoursihed, are back to normal weight. Bahamoni has learned how to make Nutrimix and she now demonstrates the making of various recipes to other mothers in her group. CINI has also supported her during the past two years by providing the CINI Nutrimix product (6 kgs) – “A multigrain nutritional mix, fortified with a premix of essential micronutrients that provides a balanced and wholesome nutrition”- for which she is grateful. Mothers who participated in the meetings are now are aware of basic health and nutritional needs of infants and young children and are able to take care of their offspring.