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Malnutrition-hit minor on deathbed

  • Jamuna, who weighs eight kg, has lost her eyesight and is so weak that she cannot even chew or swallow properly


"Such an emaciated child I had seen only in a picture depicting hunger in Somalia," said Dr Bimal Dhakal of his new patient, 12-year-old Jamuna Buda.

Jamuna was admitted to the Malnutrition Rehabilitation Centre of the Bheri Zonal Hospital four days ago. Just skin and bones, she weighs only eight kilogram, has lost her eyesight and weak to the point that she cannot even chew or swallow properly.

Jamuna's mother Najara said that her growth was normal until the age of four. "First, she had a problem with her sight and then she started getting weak."    

Najara and her husband Dipak come from a remote Serabang village of Kada VDC in Rukum. With seven children to feed, the couple work as wage labourers to eke out living. 

Owing to the lack of funds, the couple could neither take Jamuna to hospital, nor provide nutritious diet to her. 

"We took her to local shamans. Some said she was hexed by witch and some said that our deity was mad and had cursed her with the disease," Najara said.  "We, finally, managed Rs 10,000 on loan and took her to the district hospital and the doctor there advised us to bring here."

Bimala Poudel of the Malnutrition Rehabilitation Centre said there has been a slight improvement in Jamuna's condition in the last four days. She said that Jamauna is being administered milk, jeevanjal and liquefied food every two hours.     

Posted on: 2011-07-27 09:04