Unicef: Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative for Coimbatore

COIMBATORE: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) and Rotary Club of Coimbatore Spectrum have teamed up to implement in the district the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) , a project of the UNICEF and the World Health Organisation. The major focus of the project is on promoting breast feeding to eliminate infant mortality. Maternity centres in the district will be sensitised to this, Rotary Club president Sudarsan Rajagopalan told presspersons here on Wednesday.

The other focus is on establishing a system of accreditation of maternity centres. “People will have to know that deliveries should be conducted only in BFHI-accredited hospitals where breast feeding is advocated,” Mr. Rajagopalan said.

UNICEF would be the facilitator, the IAP would provide the expertise on the field and the Rotary Club would reach out to all the hospitals to bring them under the initiative, he said. UNICEF had allocated Rs. 25 lakh for training doctors of government and private hospitals. They, in turn, would spread the message wider.

“There may be 50 to 60 maternity and child care centres in Coimbatore. We will train 250 doctors of 30 centres in the first phase,” Mr. Rajagopalan said.

“It is not as if there is no sensitisation of mothers at all to the benefits of breast feeding to the child. The project’s aim is to improve things further,” the club’s Chairman for the Project for Reducing Child Mortality K.S. Sridharan Iyer said. “The child has the right to mother’s milk,” he pointed out. Centres or hospitals could contact Dr. Iyer on 99943-77073 and Mr. Rajagopalan on 94426-14445 to join the project.

Under the latest programme, maternity centres should frame a breastfeeding policy that would focus on this aspect alone. They should also have an exclusive wing and a co-ordinator to take the message of the programme to the mothers.

Even as this process would take four to five months, UNICEF and the State Government would get down to the task of forming an accreditation committee.

From THE HINDU

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UNICEF holds camp on sickle cell anaemia

Ahmedabad: An awareness programme on sickle cell anaemia was jointly organised by the state government and UNICEF at a Community Health Centre in Dungry village of Valsad district on Thursday to mark World Sickle Cell Anaemia Day.

Jairaj Parmar at Sangam Hospital in Vadodara.

Dr Yogendra Mathur, the Chief Representative of UNICEF in Gujarat, said on the occasion that all governments have signed the UN resolution stating that it is the fundamental right of a child to be safeguarded against any physical or mental disability. Dr Mathur said that this year marked a century of the discovery of the disorder by James Harrick in 1910.

Dr Yazdi Italia, Director, Sickle Cell Anaemia Control Program, said: “A total of 30,30,793 individuals between the age of six months and 30 years have been targeted for screening of the sickle gene.”

He said that 64 counsellors have been appointed under the Sickle Cell programme in 12 tribal districts. An Indian Council of Medical Research survey done on primitive tribes in south Gujarat revealed that 30 per cent children with Sickle Cell disease die by the age of 14 years; publications worldwide say 20 per cent of deaths due to the disease occur by the age of two. So far, 1,300 newborn children have been screened by the government.

From Indian Express

Take up selfless service to humanity

TIRUCHI: The Rotaract District Organisation conducted a district Rotaract team training seminar in the city recently. M. Elangovan, former Rotary governor and District Rotary Foundation Chairman, inaugurated the seminar.

Service-oriented:I.Samuel Christdoss, Rotaract District adviser, interacting with the members at the district level training camp in Tiruchi.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Elangovan explained the role of Rotary International’s Global Network Service, which catered to the desperate needs of the world like hunger, health, water, sanitation, literacy in addition to polio eradication. He urged the Rotaract leaders to take up selfless service to the humanity and strengthen the hands of Rotary Foundation.

M. Muruganandam, District Rotaract Committee Chairman, explained the current status of the district, the conditions of the Rotaract Clubs in the community and in the colleges and the ways to strengthen the network of clubs to create a greater impact on all sections of the society through their service projects.

S. H. Afroze, district regional coordinator of the Rotaract Clubs, brought out the need to equip themselves with leadership values so that they can be role models to take the leadership positions. I. Samuel Christdoss, Rotaract district advisor, presented a road map for the young minds to pick up the thread and become young leaders with clear-cut plan of action.

R. M. Rekha, District Rotaract Representative and M. Rajagoopal, district secretary, offered felicitations. A total of 32 Rotaract leaders from 29 Rotaract Clubs of eight revenue districts of Tiruchi, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Karur, Pudukottai, Madurai, Dindigul and Theni participated in the training seminar.

From THE HINDU

Child welfare committee to be established in Tirupur

To prevent trafficking and exploitation of children

Panel will have a chairperson and four members, To be selected from social workers in district.

Tirupur: The Department of Social Defence is to set up a child welfare committee in the district to ensure protection and development of children from ‘significant harm’ through institutional and out-reach programmes.

Official sources told The Hindu that the Committee, comprising Chairperson and four members, would be constituted under the provisions of Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act, 2000, and its amended Act 2006 and Rules thereof.

The main role of the panel would be to tackle child trafficking and exploitation of children in the flesh trade.

The chairperson and members of the said Committee would be selected from among the social workers residing in the district.

To be selected, applicants should be actively involved in health education or welfare activities pertaining to children for at least seven years and holders of Bachelors degree from a recognized University.

“Preference will be given to people who have completed undergraduate degrees in subjects such as criminology, psychology, sociology, social work, economics, home science, education, political science, law, medicine and studies related to women and rural development,” sources said. The upper and lower age limit for selection had been fixed at 65 and 35 years.

The applications should be sent as soon as possible to the Directorate of Social Defence, 300, Purasawalkam High Road, Kellys, Chennai-10.

More details on the selection of candidates could also be obtained from the office of District Social Welfare Officer at Tirupur Collectorate (Telephone: 94430-43409).

R. Vimal Kumar – From THE HINDU

It’s easy to buy babies at TN’s govt hospitals

About 18 months ago, doctors told Maruthayi, 39, (name changed) that she would not be able to deliver a baby. Today, she dotes on an 11-month-old boy, buying him clothes and toys and taking him to the doctor for his shots. She can’t imagine a life without him.

Maruthayi told The Times of India that she “purchased” the baby from a Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) hospital administrator but refused to divulge the amount she had paid. “I paid him in thousands. The biological mother would have got most of it,” she said.

Eight months ago, a TOI team went undercover and met the administrator who said he could find a baby for a “potential buyer”. In April, he was caught on camera saying he had found a woman who was due for delivery at the hospital in two months: “I know your number. I will call you after she has the delivery… negotiations will begin after that.” On Monday, in a telephonic conversation, he promised to close the deal by next week. The conversation has been recorded.

CHENNAI: Even as the Tamil Nadu police are currently working to unravel a child trafficking network spread across the state, it continues to be possible to buy a baby in Chennai. In fact, it would not be difficult to just walk in and steal one. And it’s not just at KMC that the task is so easy, government hospitals across the state have become the source for baby traffickers.

Ironically, almost every senior official, including Additional Director General of Police Archana Ramasundram and health secretary VK Subburaj, agree. Only two days ago, a woman lost her new-born at the Rajaji Medical College Hospital in Madurai. “Police traced the child and restored it to the parents,” says Subburaj.

Nearly 70% of all deliveries in the state take place at government hospitals, and most babies that are trafficked are from these hospitals. The cost of a baby ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh. “Entry to government hospitals is not restricted, so security is a cause for concern. Government hospitals have no strict visiting hours. The campuses are huge. We need to evolve strategies to beef up security,” says ADGP Archana Ramasundram.

The hospitals also face the problem of corrupt grade-IV staff. “The staff demand money for every service, including getting x-rays and cleaning the woman in labour. They hit my daughter on her thighs while she was in labour. We were forced to give them money,” says Muthulakshmi, whose daughter was admitted to the Woman and Children Hospital in Chennai.

In almost every government hospital, staff are aware of brokers who actively participate in child trafficking. While some babies are abandoned or sold by poor parents, others are stolen.

From TOI

Enhance health care facilities in Erode

To provide better treatment under Kalaignar insurance scheme

ERODE: Erode district was ranked second in the State for providing treatment to the people under the Kalaignar Insurance Scheme for Life Saving Treatments, Collector R. Sudalaikannan said.

Participating in a mass contact programme held in Vijayapuri village panchayat here recently, the Collector called upon the healthcare sector in the district to enhance the facilities to provide treatment to more people under this scheme.

Coimbatore district was ranked first as it has hospitals with advanced facilities.

Even people from Erode district were going to Coimbatore seeking advanced healthcare services, he pointed out. Over 5.12 lakh families in the district were given the Smart Card under the Kalaignar Insurance scheme till date, he added.

The Collector appealed to the elected representatives of local bodies to extend their support for the successful completion of the Census exercise.

The first phase of the Census 2011exercise, House listing and Housing Census, is being carried out in all the parts of the district.

In the household enumeration, to be carried out till July 15, the owner of the house will be asked to provide details for 35 questions.

The second phase, called the Population Enumeration phase, will be held in February in 2011.

A unique feature of this census is the preparation of National Population Register (NPR), in which all persons aged over 15 years will be photographed and fingerprinted to create a biometric national database. The Census 2011 will form the base for the issuance of national individual identity cards, the Collector said.

Mr. Sudalaikannan wanted the elected representatives to co-ordinate with the field staff and help the people in their respective areas to furnish their details.

Later he distributed welfare assistance to the tune of Rs. 12.87 lakh to 242 beneficiaries.

Senior officials from various departments participated in the programme.

From THE HINDU

Statewide child trafficking ring busted, 4 held

CHENNAI: In a new twist to a child kidnapping racket busted recently, the Chennai suburban police on Saturday night arrested four women, who were part of the trafficking network and worked for a city-based fertility clinic, indicating the statewide ramifications of the case.

The women, including two ‘ayahs’ working in the hospital, are said to have identified buyers among patients who came to the clinic for treatment. While Nancy and Asha looked after the stolen babies, Kavitha, 33, and Andal, 47, identified a potential buyer for one of the babies.

The development adds another dimension to the child trafficking network, the second big one in recent times to be unearthed by the state police. In 2005, police had cracked an adoption racket involving an agency that sourced kidnapped babies and gave them away in adoption to couples abroad. CBI is still investigating the case. Police suspect that the latest case, involving a gang operating across TN, may have links to networks in other states as well.

Police confirmed that Saturday’s arrests were part of the child abduction racket that came to light when Krishnagiri police arrested seven members of a gang, most of them operating in Chennai and its suburbs. Deputy commissioner of police (Madhavaram), Annie Vijaya, told TOI, “The arrests are a continuation of the child trafficking racked busted in Krishnagiri (in May). We have been exchanging information with the Krishnagiri police and following up leads.”

It was in May that police first arrested several members of a gang and rescued nine babies from them. During interrogation of an accused, Dhanalakshmi, police found that several woman, posing as social workers, and a church priest, father Alphonse, believed to be the kingpin in the racket, were involved in an inter-state racket of stealing and selling babies to childless couples for price ranging from Rs 50,000 to a couple of lakhs of rupees. Those arrested included a woman, M Lalitha, a self-proclaimed social worker, running an orphanage in Puducherry. The woman used the unlicensed orphanage she ran to source babies and sell them to childless couples.

The alleged brain behind the four women arrested on Saturday, Jayaprasad, was picked up in Krishnagiri. Police also rescued two babies from the gang — an eight-month-old girl and a one-year-old baby boy. The children have been handed over to authorities of a government home.

From TOI