Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], June 12 (ANI): With an aim to ensure safety of children who lost their parents to COVID-19, the Department of Women Development and Child Welfare has decided to give them mobile phones containing all the necessary numbers including that of the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) as well as helpline and emergency numbers.
Speaking to ANI, T Akkeshwar Rao, District Welfare Officer (DWO) of Hyderabad said, "By providing these mobile phones to orphaned children, they can find help just a click away and can contact any of the officers, numbers of whom have been saved in the phone's contact list. We have also counselled children on whom to contact and when to contact a concerned officer."
Rao mentioned that in Hyderabad district alone, 10 children were rendered completely orphaned as their parents succumbed to COVID-19 and 75 children have lost their parents because of some other reasons during the pandemic.
Apart from these 85 children, there are 138 children in Hyderabad district alone, who lost their single parent (either mother or father) to COVID-19.
He said that these children, who count over 200, have been given monthly ration kits in collaboration with an NGO as an immediate relief.
If a child has been orphaned but has a guardian, then such child is sent to the guardian.
"Each family is being given a mobile phone, whom they can contact in case of any need for help. They are also being provided with monthly ration kits," said Rao.
The DWO said that if a child is orphaned and has no guardian to look after, then those children are shifted to the 57 child homes across the city where all the needs and cares of that children will be looked after by the department.
These children, as per the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) rules, are then being put for adoption and before adoption, both the children and the adopting parents are counselled by counsellors, he added.
Further speaking, Rao said that to make sure that education of these orphaned children is not interrupted, the department is getting these children admission into Government hostels, Government Model Schools and BC (backward classes) Residential schools in Telangana.
Moreover, a financial assistance of Rs 2,000 per child is also being provided by the department.
Rao added, "All these children either with their guardian or at the children homes are checked upon very frequently, to counsel them and to know their mental and physical health."
Three teams have been constituted with each team consisting of a doctor, Auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), one member from DCPO unit and a supervisor.
"Every week these three teams have to visit these children's homes and conduct health check ups. If any child is found to be having COVID symptoms, then we send that child for further diagnosis. Seperate rooms have been dedicated for isolating children with COVID symptoms," said Rao.
"If in case in a family both the parents have tested positive for Covid and the child/children have been tested negative, the department has come up with 4 transit homes across the city that look after those children whose parents have been tested positive to COVID. Once the parents are recovered, the children are then sent back to their parents."
Rao stated that all the necessary precautions are being taken and preparations are being made to deal with an expected third wave of COVID-19.
"Seperate dedicated isolation rooms have been created at the 57 Children homes. 4 transit homes have been made ready to take care of children during isolation and further the we have tied up with the Nature Cure Hospital here in Hyderabad to provide treatment to those children who have been tested positive to COVID."
Balamani, the grandmother of two orphaned girls said, "The initiative of the Women Development and Child Welfare department has been helpful as they have promised to look after the education of my granddaughters and further they have been providing us with ration. Now, they have given us a mobile uploaded with all the numbers saved in it so that whenever we face a problem, we can call them for help." (ANI)