Amid a big concern that children could be infected during a possible third wave of the coronavirus, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has decided to prepare special medicine kits with syrups and chewable tablets for children, and keep them ready for free distribution across the state.
Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh confirmed the plan to News18, saying the drive could begin from June 15.
"We will be distributing a kit for children with medicines for a week, and the dosage will be adjusted to the children's age and weight. Our 97,000 medical teams comprising ASHA workers are going door-to-door already to screen adults and give them medicine kits," he said.
"Children who are showing influenza-like symptoms like cold and cough — their parents will be asked to give them the medicines for a week," Singh added.
The state is preparing 30 lakh pamphlets-cum-envelopes in which the medical kits for children will be distributed, as per a bid document for the material, accessed by News18.
There will be three kinds of kits — for children below six years, between 6-12 year olds and those aged between 12 and 18 years. The message printed on the children kits will be — 'Corona Ki Jang Mein Har Jeevan Anmol' (Each life is precious in the fight against Covid-19).
'Want to be prepared for the future'
UP Principal Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad said such kits for children would include syrups and chewable tablets of lesser dosage than adults.
"We are preparing the medicine kits for children as it is being widely feared that children could be infected in the third wave. These medicine kits are being readied and sent to our warehouses in the districts so that as and when needed, they can be distributed. Right now, cases are low so we want to be prepared for the future," Prasad said.
Singh said it has been seen in the experience so far with adults that influenza-like symptoms of cold and cough and respiratory diseases convert into Covid-like symptoms if not addressed in time through medicines. "The fever, however, comes down if medicines are taken. Our teams monitor patients, who are given such medical kits and tests are done by rapid response teams if symptoms don't subside," Singh added.
Children, however, are seen to be largely asymptomatic for Covid. Earlier this month, the UP government had decided to prioritise the parents of children below 12 years for vaccination, in order to prevent the exposure of children to the sources of the virus.
UP has set up special centres with 'guardian booths' to vaccinate parents, who were also asked to bring identity proof of their child. CM Adityanath had last month also ordered setting up of at least 100 pediatric beds in every district.