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Delhi to Fund Schoolchildren's Medical Care

SOS Children's Villages Canada

903 days ago   Article ID# 1282305
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United Nations Children’s Fund

OTTAWA, CANADA (SOS Children's Villages Canada) - Government officials in Delhi, India, have announced a new programme that will give free medical care to schoolchildren in the area.

The Government of Delhi will launch the Chacha Nehru Health Scheme on November 14, the national Children’s Day. This coincides with the birthday of the country’s first prime minister, the late Jawaharlal Nehru.

The health scheme was announced in the city’s 2011/2012 Budget Speech. The government has recently completed the necessary preparatory work and is now ready to implement it. To this end, cooperation with the departments of Health and Education is essential. The Health Department, for instance, will ensure that any bottlenecks will be quickly cleared up in order to smooth the scheme’s implementation.

Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, chaired yesterday’s meeting on the discussion of the scheme, expected to include 100 schools. Under the Chacha Nehru Health Scheme, the children will receive comprehensive check-ups, including testing for diseases and routine immunizations. Treatment, as needed, will help keep the children healthy.

Eventually, it is hoped that the scheme will be scaled up, including all of the 954 schools in the Delhi region. Also in the works is a computerized plan to create medical records for the children.

The scheme will require 117 health care teams, each consisting of one doctor, nurse and computer data entry clerk. Each team will be able to check 60 children each day. With a working year of 200 days, each team will see 12,000 children annually.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), improvements to children’s health have been made over the past thirty years, but early childhood diseases and inadequate care during birth and the neonatal period continue to pose challenges.

India is presently “off-track” to meet the fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on child health. The target for this goal is to reduce child mortality levels by two-thirds of the 1990 rate. Indicators for this goal also include the infant mortality rate and the proportion of one-year old children immunized against measles.

The country’s child mortality rate in 1990 was 118 deaths per thousand lives births. In 2009, it was 68 deaths per 1,000 live births – a 57.6 per cent reduction. More than two million children continue to die from preventable diseases every year. Measles remains the biggest killer, as vaccination rates have fallen from 72 per cent in 1995 to 61 per cent, notes UNICEF. Meanwhile, tetanus infection among newborns is a danger in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Assam. While polio cases continue to be reported, India is on its way to eradicating the disease.

Copyright 2014 SOS Children's Villages Canada   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 903 days ago   Article ID# 1282305

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