By Ambuj Pandey
New Delhi [India], May 22 (ANI): The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Saturday urged the Union Health Ministry and states to take stock of the preparations to tackle the upcoming third wave of COVID-19, which experts say is likely to impact the younger population significantly.
The child rights body has sought information on the availability of pediatric facilities and beds, availability of neonatal ambulances for newborns, and protocols for treatment of children.
The NCPCR has taken cognisance of the preparation of the Ministry of Health, ICMR, and the State governments.
Priyank Kanoongo, the Commission's Chairpersonsaid, "We have asked all the states about PICUs, NICUs, equipment, doctors, and nurses, whether the equipment is functional or not, and the availability of beds and oxygen."
He said that the Commission has also requested the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to share the protocols for the treatment of children and sought information from the Ministry of Health on the arrangement for the transportation, including ambulance system for the children.
In a letter to the ICMR, Kanoongo highlighted the potential impact of the third wave on children and emphasised the need for vaccinating children.
Kanoongo further said, "The third wave of COVID-19 is projected to hit the country, according to experts, and will affect children too. The Supreme Court has emphasised upon the need to prepare for the same including vaccinating people."
"Protocols/guidelines shall be further shared by NCPCR with the State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) for dissemination in States/UTs. Further keeping in view, high risk involved for children in an upcoming third wave of COVID-19, you may kindly apprise the Commission, if additional protocols/Guidelines have been developed by ICMR for prevention and clinical management of children," Kanoongo wrote in his letter dated May 20.
In its letter to the Union health ministry, the commission has highlighted the need for transportation of newborns, who may be impacted by the third wave.
"Doctors have confirmed that even newborns and infants are testing COVID-19 positive, though their condition remains under control and rarely turns fatal. There is an urgent need to reorganise a Neonatal/children Emergency Transport Service (NETS) to prepare specifically for neonatal and children for the third wave," it said. (ANI)