SINGAPORE, DUBAI, UAE and TORONTO, Dec. 22, 2015 /CNW/ - India is home to over 138 million children under the age of 6 years. The age 0-6 constitutes a crucial period for the development of a child, and adequate nutrition and care at this age lays the foundation for healthy citizens in the future. In order to deal with the multi-faceted issues faced by children in this age group, it is important to adopt a holistic approach and look at various aspects such as pre and post natal healthcare, immunisation, nutrition, etc. The challenge lies not only in ensuring that children have access to a healthy start, but also creating awareness among rural societies that have ignored the importance of early childhood care.
Take the case of Tilakpur, a small hamlet in Uttarakhand, India with 25 families who work as labourers. Children in the age group of 0-5 years did not receive any vaccines and neither was their birth registered, as the villagers did not feel the need for it. CRY - Child Rights and You, an Indian NGO working for children's rights for over three decades, along with partner Lok Prabandh Vikas Sansthan (LPVS) went door to door to create awareness on the importance of immunisation. What ensued was continued counselling and sensitising each family and parent who initially resisted the idea. After regular talks, the LPVS team got the Auxiliary Nursing Midwife (ANM) to visit each house and immunise the children. Regular meetings with government officials resulted in a mini Anganwadi being built in the village. Today, because of these continuous efforts, every child in the village is immunised.
Susan Varghese, Head, Global Operations, CRY, says, "A healthy start for mothers and children forms the basis for the healthy development of a child and ensures access to proper and effective healthcare, nutrition and early childhood care, thereby resulting in a sound growth of children. However, growing up healthy remains an unattainable dream for thousands of children, and their childhood and growth is hindered by challenges. CRY, along with its grass-root partners identifies these underlying issues and addresses them by interaction with parents, community leaders, children's collectives, while reaching out to affected regions both directly and indirectly."
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For further information: Media Contact: Susan Varghese, firstname.lastname@example.org