News By/Courtesy: Ritwik Guha Mustafi | 08 Apr 2020 11:25am IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Communities vary considerably in their commitment to collective health of children
  • Negligence of heath workers, incorrect information given to caregivers, non-recording of statistics are major challenges
  • The situation can be improved through proper education and mobilization of health workers

Children are vital to the nation’s present and its future. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are usually committed to providing every advantage possible to the children in their families, and to ensuring that they are healthy and have the opportunities that they need to fulfill their potential. Yet communities vary considerably in their commitment to the collective health of children and in the resources that they make available to meet children’s needs. This is reflected in the ways in which communities address their collective commitment to children, specifically to their health [1].

Children are exposed to serious health risks from environmental hazards. Environmental risk factors often act in concert, and their effects are exacerbated by adverse social and economic conditions, particularly conflict, poverty and malnutrition. There is new knowledge about the special susceptibility of children to environmental risks: action needs to be taken to allow them to grow up and develop in good health, and to contribute to economic and social development [2]. Each year, millions of children die, the vast majority in poor countries. Tragically, most of these deaths are preventable with technologies that are currently available and recommended for universal implementation. [3]. 

 Nearly half of all deaths in children under five are caused by malnutrition. This is due to a lack of sufficient and nutritious food as well as a range of other factors such as healthcare, education, sanitation and hygiene. Malnourished children are more likely to contract diseases such as diarrhoea, measles and other infections. These can lead to death, as well as a range of permanent mental and physical shortfalls [4]. 

Some major hinderances are [5]: 

  • The healthworkers are not able to identify the children who are at risk of becoming undernourished or overweight at an early stage due to improper information regarding the processes. 
  • Health care workers aren't recording some key health statistics. This was either because they didn’t understand the value of the information or because they didn’t have the time.
  • Health care workers aren't explaining important things that caregivers could do to improve their children’s health. This included things like bringing their children to the clinic for regular growth monitoring and advising the caregivers about the importance breastfeeding and complementary feeding for their nutritional value.

Increasingly, there is a need for national governments, public-private partnerships, private sector and other funding agencies to set priorities in health research investments in a fair and transparent way. A process of priority setting is always an activity driven by values of wide range of stakeholders, which are often conflicting. This process always occurs in a highly specific context [6]. Measurement and appropriate use of data on children’s health and influences on health can help ensure that federal, state, and local policies are based on good information and are designed to enhance the health of children. Good measurement and reporting of data as well as judicious integration of data help to target public expenditures and interventions toward identified problem areas and identify areas for further research. [7]. 

There are several other elements that need to be fixed so that the system can run efficiently.Accurate scales and measurement tools need to be provided to ensure that children are measured properly.In addition, community health care workers need to be mobilised to strengthen awareness in the community.And lastly, caregivers need to be educated on the importance of routine nutrition screening and interventions. This will give them a better understanding of the programme’s benefits which in turn will empower them to ask more questions and get more information [8].

References:-

1.) National Research Council, Children’s Health, The Nation’s Wealth: Assessing and Improving Child Health, NCBI (April 8, 2020, 12:03 P.M.), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92206/

2.) World Health Organization, Global Plan of Action for Children’s Health and the Environment (2010 - 2015), WHO (April 8, 2020, 12:05 P.M.), https://www.who.int/ceh/cehplanaction10_15.pdf

3.) Donna Denno, Global Child Health, 32(2) Pediatrics in Review 1-2 (2011).

4.) Renee Blaauw & Lisanne Du Plessis, Why child health is important, IOL (April 8, 2020, 12:09 P.M.), https://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/health/why-child-health-is-important-15210509

5.) ibid.

6.) Igor Rudan et al. , Setting Priorities in Global Child Health Research Investments: Universal Challenges and Conceptual Framework, FORUM (April 8, 2020, 12:11 P.M.), file:///C:/Users/Ritwik%20Guha%20Mustafi/Downloads/CMJ_49_3__RUDAN_18581609.pdf

7.) National Research Council, supra note 1

8.) Renee Blaauw & Lisanne Du Plessis, supra note 4

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 08 Apr 2020 17:28pm IST


Tags : Health, children, negligence, non-recording, proper, education, mobilization

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