Almost one-third of the population of India comprises of children up to 14 years of age. Our duty as a community is to protect the health and well-being of this largest demographic group. We need a sturdy programme and policies as these children are our future and intellectual powerhouse of our country.
*India was the first country in the world–to start a National Family Planning Programme to control the growth of the population.
*Government of India later came up with the National Policy for Children–to prioritise child nutrition for orphan children and children with disabilities. Maternal and child health care has become a part of this programme with the recognition that a reduction in infant and child mortality is directly proportional to a decrease in the birth rate.
*Government has also introduced the Reproductive and Child Health Programme, to fulfil any unmet need for Family Welfare Services in the country, especially among the poor and under-served.
*National Rural Health Mission was launched, to focus on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Adolescent services.
*National Urban Health Mission was started to provide a remarkable increase in the quality of health care for mothers and children. This program gives priority to the health care of children, particularly in rural areas.
We now need to be on track to reach the “Sustainable Development Goals Target” by 2030.
Currently, various interventions are being implemented to improve the health of our children, as—
“Newborn Action Plan” to reduce neonatal mortality
“Integrated Action Plan launched with states with the highest child mortality rate
“Village Health and Nutrition Days” organised for nutritional counselling to mothers and improve childcare practices
“Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram” which entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to free delivery
“Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram” to provide health care to all the children in the age group of 0–18 y in the community
Mission Indradhanush to achieve 90% full immunisation coverage of India by the year 2020.
Undernutrition is becoming a significant challenge for child survival, growth and cognitive development.
Integrated Child Development Scheme helps to address the nutrition and education needs of pre-school children.
Poshan Abhiyan, is a recently launched nutrition mission, aims at improving the nutritional status of children, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women. While the drive to eliminate undernutrition is essential, the rising threat of obesity among children and adolescents also needs to be addressed; otherwise, the danger of early onset of Non-Communicable Diseases will zoom at large.
The need for modifications in the ICDS program is critical, as are methods for strengthening the School Mid-Day Meal Programme too. Refining the lessons gathered over the past years, they light up the pathway we must follow, to reach our target by 2030.
EKAM Foundation is one such organisation that works towards providing quality health care to needy children and mothers. EKAM’s vision is to work for the benefit and well-being of the underprivileged infants, children, adolescent and mothers. EKAM’s aim is not to replace but to continually support the Public Health Care System. As a child’s health is dependent on the health of the mother, interventions are tailored to address their needs, at all times.
So, log on to www.ekamoneness.org for further information.