Asha COVID-19 Emergency Response: Severely malnourished women in the slums attend Malnutrition Clinic

The after-effects of the lockdown have resulted in not just the malnourishment of young children, this pandemic has created a mass of severely malnourished women in the slums as well. To combat this issue, Asha has launched a ‘Malnutrition Clinic’ for Women in the slums belonging to the age group of 15-49 years.

COVID-19 is having serious consequences on the nutrition of women in our slum communities, causing them to become severely malnourished in many cases. This is a direct consequence of simply not having a sufficient daily caloric consumption coupled with women always eating last after feeding the entire family. Many are eating one meal a day. You may know that the BMI( Body Mass Index) is a simple index of weight to height that is commonly used to classify underweight, overweight, and obesity in adults. Weight in kg divided by the square of the height in meters( kg/m*)

A BMI of less than 17 indicates moderate and severe thinness. BMI of less than 16 is known to be associated with a markedly increased risk for ill health, poor physical performance, lethargy, and even death. This cut off point is an extreme limit. It is the result of substantial loss of fat and muscle tissue. This is because the body uses these constituents for energy to support the nervous system and the heart. Severe thinness is accompanied by significant protein and vitamin deficiencies and frequently accompanied by constant appetite loss.

I have begun a Malnutrition Clinic for Women in the age group 15-49 years. The focus at this time is on Thinness. We were shocked to find women with BMI’s as low as 12 and 13. Anything less than 16 is classified as Severe Thinness and requires urgent attention. Here are some pictures below of such women. We have begun creating their health profiles, giving them Vitamin and Mineral Supplements, and are in the process of creating a powder rich in calories and proteins. Amanda Clegg is helping me create the recipe.

Let us all think of these women who are suffering from severe thinness and help them get to a normal weight by providing them with all the dietary support and medical help they need, including the critical element of emotional support.”



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