Friday, June 6, 2008

Two simple practises for better health for children

The dog-fight between Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and celebrities Shah Rukh khan and Amithabh Bachhan made only painful reading, neither side winning or even making a difference to the most needy, poorer population in both rural and urban India.
Let me give couple of examples.
Do you know we have one of the highest morbidity and mortality rates for children in the world? Children continue to die in summer as the effective WHO Oral rehydration message has NOT really crossed the information barrier and percolated to the rural parents.As a result children who often get dirty infected gutter water to drink die within hours of dehydration.If they can be administered water with salt and sugar, within few minutes the child will survive. No advertising modern Guru who often come and wax eloquently on drawing room topics on National TV has come forward and shown their brilliance here in closing the information barrier.Children still continue to die.
Again, there is a study which says, if children wash hands with soap and water BEFORE each meal, mortalty rates will come down substantially.This is not going to be terribly expensive if only we put this practise in each and every school before children have their food by making available soap, water and a clean towel more importantly making them do.It is more important they wash hands before than afterwards.We normally practise the other way!Even if they lick after the meals it's okay!
It is this Anbumani Ramadoss should promote and get Amithabh, Shah Rukh and Regional stars to show it on TV. If this meassage could take wings, Companies will distribute free soaps and towels and indeed we really can take this far and wide and we will have healthier children.
Imagine the byproduct of this. A child used to washing his hands before a meal, will insist his parents do the same at home, whether rural or urban India.And when a child insists on a good practise which parent will say 'No'?It is through inculcation of small but significan practises we can build better health. By teaching the children we can build by bottomsup approach and reach elders too.
Let's start.

No comments: