Since our tryst with Palamu region for more than a decade, babies such as the one above are not uncommon. We’ve had many such babies brought to NJH during our stint there. However, with the government taking a pro-active approach to treatment of extreme malnutrition, our workload on such babies have come down to quite a large extent.
This baby girl, whose birth date is not known came to us today. Regarding her age, the parents are only sure that she is more than 2 months old. They had already received a referral letter to the Malnutrition Treatment Centre at Sadar Hospital, Latehar. Unfortunately, they just don’t want to take the baby there.
The reason I posted the snap of this child is to let the world know of how quacks and charlatans in rural India con poor people. I hope you can clearly see the reddish dye put on the scalp of this baby. The treatment given by some quack is for ‘khaparphod’ - which means broken head/skull. ‘Khaparphod’ is the local terminology for the open anterior fontanelle which as we all know is a normal feature of infants which close by about a years age.
The quack has told them that all of the child’s problems is because of the open anterior fontanelle. And they had been taking treatment for that from the said quack since the last one month. I spent close to half an hour convincing the family that this is a normal anatomical feature in a newborn.
It’s close to 6 hours since the baby was ‘admitted’ at our place. Meanwhile we also realised that the child was in sepsis. I can only pray that she gets better soon and puts on some flesh over her bones.
I hope it is also significant to mention that this is the family’s seventh child and three of those died before they turned started to walk.