New Delhi: Ensure continuity of learning for all children and uninterrupted provision of safe and nutritious food to them, advised child rights body Save The Children in its recommendations for dealing with the indirect effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, the child rights body also recommended strengthening awareness and ensuring that Childline toll-free number 1098 is declared as the COVID-19 emergency outreach.
The other recommendations included ensuring continuity of learning for all children in both anganwadis and schools with equitable access to remote learning practices and tools as well as continuous guidance for parents, caregivers and educators.
Ensure uninterrupted provision of safe and nutritious food to children, especially mid-day meals, it said.
Noting that the indirect effects of the pandemic are taking their toll on the most vulnerable in society, the child rights body said with inadequate social safety nets to rely on, families are being driven to despair with many taking loans or selling household items to make ends meet.
For children, being out of school and stuck at home exposes them to potential domestic abuse and exploitation. Education has obviously taken a beating, especially for the most vulnerable children. We hope that consolidated action will be possible to ensure that children, who are always the most vulnerable in emergencies, receive urgent and proper support from all those who can help them, said Anindit Roy Chowdhury, Programme and Policy Director at Save the Children in India.
We must take urgent action to ensure child rights are not neglected in this unprecedented crisis or we risk losing much of the progress made in reducing child labour, child marriage, trafficking and malnutrition rates over the last few decades, he said.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.