COVID-19 outbreak has led to a rise in malnutrition cases as more children have become malnourished for want of nutritious food in Bajura.

The escalating cases of COV- ID-19 have rendered many children malnourished in the district, according to Bajura Health Office Chief Daya Krishna Pant.

Extreme poverty triggered by the pandemic has hit pregnant women and malnourished children hard. Data at Bajura Health Office show that 236 children up to the age of 23 months have experienced extreme undernourishment.

Similarly, 629 children have developed medium type of malnourishment while 18,577 experienced common malnourishment in the last fiscal.

According to Bajura Health Office, 19,442 children underwent treatment for malnutrition in the last fiscal year. "The number of malnourished children is much higher than reported by the health office," said Budhiganga Municipality Coordinator Dipak Shah.

Health workers say malnutrition rate has gone up among children from Dalit, backward and marginalised communities. "Malnutrition is a matter of serious concern for the country. Malnourished children are hit hard by the disease," said District Hospital Chief Dr Prakash Raj Jaishi.

Janak BK of Swamikartik Khapar Rural Municipality has two malnourished children for lack of good food.

Dogadi Health Post in-charge Dal Bahadur Rawat said that only malnourished children, who faced the risk to life, visited the hospital for treatment.

A child up to four years requires 1,320 calories. Children who get to eat less than the standard calories suffer from malnutrition.

Average life expectancy is 69.2 years in Nepal while life expectancy of people is 59.5 years in Bajura.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 26 2021, of The Himalayan Times.