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.


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

UP tops list of states in number of child labourers

This is the status of child labour in Uttar Pradesh.

In 1991, UP stood second with 14.10 lakh child labourers, while Andhra Pradesh topped the country charts. Ten years later, UP was first with 19.27 lakh child labourers, while Andhra Pradesh’s figure had come down to 13.63 lakh. Recent surveys have shown that a large number of childen here, though enrolled in schools, are still working as labourers. And despite schemes like the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) and the Conditioner Cash Transfer (CCT) to check the practice, the numbers refuse to go down.

These revelations were made at a day-long seminar on Anti-Child Labour Day organised jointly by the state Department of Labour and UNICEF in Lucknow on Saturday.

Conceptualised by UNICEF, the CCT runs in 10 districts of the state. These districts — Agra, Lucknow, Kanpur, Moradabad, Firozabad, Aligarh, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Azamgarh and Sonebhadra — were identified as places with a huge population of child labourers. The scheme involves an annual support of Rs 8,000 to the family of a rescued child labour, besides a monthly scholarship of Rs 100 on the condition that the child will study and not go back to work.

Talking about the initiative in Lucknow, where 37 children avail of the CCT scheme, Additional Labour Commissioner R B Lal said the government is trying to identify more children under the programme.

“Most of these children were rescued from the zari-zardozi industry and are studying in NCLP schools. But, their families are very poor and cannot survive without their earnings. Hence, they have been taken under the CCT cover.”

Speaking about the CCT programme, UNICEF’s child welfare expert Rajib Ghoshal said the scheme has shown positive results. “Though the pace is slow, the results are showing. In several places in Moradabad and even Lucknow, children have not gone back to work for the last one year. There are 260 children covered in the state under the scheme and we hope the number will increase,” said Ghoshal.

After two years, the scheme needs to be upscaled, said Ghoshal, addding: “It is important to ensure convergence among different departments like labour, education and health to ensure that child labourers are not just pulled away from work, but also given basic facilities through monetary support.”

UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office (Uttar Pradesh) Adele Khudr said it is important to have a child protection commissioner or an officer in the state to monitor the schemes.

From Indian Express

Bollywood at Indian Film Festival of London

Apart from earning itself 14 nominations at the IIFA awards and having already won eight technical ones, 3 Idiots is now being screened at the Indian Film Festival of London 2010, as a part of a retrospective of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s films.

The festival that kicks off on August 25 and ends on August 29, will close the event with a screening of 3 Idiots for charity, the proceeds of which will be donated to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

For a cause
3 Idiots is a special film, it has changed my own daughter’s outlook towards education, as she has taken up full time classical dancing now. To have a charity screening for UNICEF only echoes what the film is trying to say and we are really proud to be associated with such a noble cause,” Chopra says.

The other films lined up to be screened are An Encounter With Faces (1978), Parinda (1989), 1942: A Love Story (1994) and Eklavya: The Royal Guard (2007). While Chopra will also be presented an award for his contribution to cinema, each film will be followed by an audience interaction with him, where members of the British film world will learn more about Bollywood.

About the IFFL
The Indian Film Festival of London claims to be one of the major film festivals, which is dedicated to promoting cinema from the Indian subcontinent.

While several mainstream and art house products from Bollywood are promoted here, the festival soon plans on branching out into getting films from other Indian film industries as well. Steps to rope in movies from film industries in neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh are also under way

From The Hindustan Times

Infections cause two-thirds of child deaths

According to a new study, preventable infectious diseases cause two-thirds of child deaths.

Published in The Lancet, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF’s Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) assessed data from 193 countries to produce estimates by country, region and the world.

“With less than five years to reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 4—to reduce child deaths by two-thirds from 1990 levels—it is vital for governments, public health organizations, and donors to have accurate country-level estimates so they can target their efforts effectively,” said lead author Dr. Robert Black, chair of the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“These findings have important implications for national programs,” said UNICEF Chief of Health, Dr. Mickey Chopra. “The persistence of diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, all of which are easily preventable and curable but which nonetheless remain the leading single causes of death worldwide, should spur us to do more to control these diseases.”

The study’s country and regional estimates, however, underscore how global efforts must be targeted to have maximum impact. Malaria, for instance, is responsible for approximately 16 percent of deaths in Africa, but is a comparatively minor disease in the rest of the world. The study did reveal successes in fighting some infectious diseases, such as measles and tetanus—each now only accounts for 1 percent of child deaths worldwide.

Newborn deaths—those within the first month of life—increased as a proportion of all child deaths globally from 37 percent in 2000 to 41 percent in 2008.

The two greatest single causes of death among neonates are pre-term birth complications and birth-related asphyxia.

“These new data make the compelling case that for countries to get on track for Millennium Development Goal 4, they need to scale up low-cost, effective newborn health interventions,” said co-author Dr. Joy Lawn, director of Global Policy and Evidence for Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program.

From TOI