The Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) of Chenchus in Prakasam district, who share space with the big cats and other wild animals, had coexisted with them for centuries.

Yet, they dread water and air-borne diseases which they contract in the absence of healthy food. It was found during Sample System Registration survey that infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR) are high when compared with the rates prevailing elsewhere in the State.

Based on the recommendations of the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition, the Chenchus of the Nallamallas and other tribal people will be provided with nutrition kit during this month-end, according to H. Arun Kumar, Special Commissioner of Women Development and Child Welfare.

An allocation of Rs. 150 crore had been made to provide pregnant women, lactating mothers and children below the age of six years with the nutrition kit as they mainly suffer from anaemia and malnutrition, which makes them vulnerable to a host of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

It was found that the IMR and MMR were high in the areas inhabited by the tribal people when compared to the ones in other areas, he explained after holding a strategic session with ICDS officials and workers at the grassroots level here on Wednesday.

The kit worth Rs. 400, each comprising fox tail millet powder, jaggery, palm dates and groundnut, would be distributed free of cost to the tribal people by Anganwadi workers.

Dietary allowances

Even with this, only 40% regular dietary allowances of the tribal people would be met, and the rest had to be obtained by them on their own, he added. Mr. Kumar asked the ICDS workers at the grassroots level workers to organise “Annaprasana” and “Seemantham” by roping in community elders and use the occasion to step up campaign against continuing child marriages, which posed a hurdle to the government’s efforts to improve their health status and follow healthy lifestyle like eschewing liquor. Staff working in the plains would be deputed to the tribal areas for effective implementation of the Nutrition Kit programme, he added.

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