Must improve child health care: Sonia

Dharmendra Jore

Palghar, Feb. 7 -- Raising serious concerns about the country's high child malnutrition rate which is 40% presently, UPA president Sonia Gandhi has called for effective monitoring of nutrition and health care schemes across the country. "This high rate of malnutrition is a cause of major worry and we are taking efforts to eradicate the problem. We will ensure adequate grants for all schemes to deal with it," said Gandhi after launching the Rashtriya Bal Swaasthya Karyakram, a health programme for children at ST Kadam School on Wednesday. Gandhi added that so far, the Centre has spent Rs90,000 crore on national rural health schemes.

Under this programme, children up to Class 12 will be examined regularly for serious ailments that originate at birth, deficiency conditions, developmental delays including disabilities and other serious diseases.

"Children are the future of the nation and hence the government has accorded highest priority to strengthen the child health care system," said Gandhi.

Gandhi also lauded Maharashtra's extraordinary efforts in controlling the child mortality rate and praised chief minister Prithviraj Chavan Maharashtra and health minister Suresh Shetty. "I hope other states also start the programme at the earliest," she said.

Gandhi said that she wanted top quality health care and nutrition for pregnant women and mothers. "Such schemes will be successful only when they help women," added Gandhi.

She also appealed to women from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to take up nursing courses.

Chavan said that the state's health intervention programmes had yielded good results. "A Unicef survey has shown that effective implementation of the Maharashtra government's Rajmata Jijau Kuposhan Mukti Gram Abhiyan has reduced the incidence of malnutrition in tribal blocks of Jawhar - Mokhada and Melghat regions," said Chavan.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.