Govt should ramp up facilities to protect children, says NCPCR citing projection of 3rd COVID wave

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New Delhi, May 20 (PTI) The country's apex child rights body on Thursday said with a third COVID-19 wave projected to hit the country, the Centre and states should ramp up their preparations to protect children and neonatals.

In a letter to Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting a slightly greater number of younger people and a third wave is projected to hit the country, will affect children too.

Underlining the urgent need to reorganise the National Emergency Transport Service (NETS), Kanoongo requested the health ministry to issue necessary directions for the service and ambulances to prepare specifically for neonatals and children.

In a letter to health secretaries of states and union territories, the chairperson said keeping in view the high risk involved for infants and children in the projected third wave, the NCPCR has developed a format to collect information on functioning of neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) and special newborn care units (SICUs).

'For this, all states/UTs, health and family welfare departments are requested to assign a nodal officer who would be responsible for providing data of the state on the online form,' he said.

'This information would enable the commission in ensuring the better implementation of facilities and strengthening of each NICU/PICU/SNCU of state/UTs,” Kanoongo said.

It should be ensured that the requisite information is verified and sent to the NCPCR within seven days from the date of receipt of this letter, he said.

In another letter, Kanoongo asked Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava to share with the NCPCR protocols and guidelines developed by the institute for treatment and clinical management of children with COVID-19.

“These protocols/guidelines shall be further shared by NCPCR with the State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) for dissemination in states/UTs,” he said in the letter.

Further keeping in view, the high risk involved for children in the projected third wave of COVID-19, Kanoongo also asked the health ministry to apprise the commission, if additional protocols or guidelines have been developed by the ICMR for prevention and clinical management of children. PTI UZM ANB ANB