World Health Day is celebrated each year on the 7th of April, every year, to draw attention to pressing issues of global health. The COVID-19 pandemic 2020 brought our attention to the health of the most vulnerable among us: the elderly, children, frontline workers, and people with co-morbidities. But as healthcare systems were put under immense strain around the world and in India it also became clear that inequality and poverty are also pre-existing conditions that puts the most marginalised among us at greatest risk of infection, sickness, and fatal illness. As we recover from the pandemic, slowly, and vaccines are rolled out across the world, the world health organisation has called for building a fairer, healthier world emphasising that inequity that leads to poorer health is “not only unfair: it is preventable”.
Child Health during COVID-19
The available public health and food security programmes – such as access to primary health centres (PHC), community health centres (CHC) and Government hospitals, child immunisation, mid-day meals, aanganwadi centres, Auxiliary Nursing Midwifery (ANM) workers, Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) – became inaccessible to the most vulnerable people during the lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic (for more read the findings of Round 1 and Round 2 of our National Study on Informal Workers). Under these circumstances, the greatest long term threat is to that of child health and child nutrition. Nutrition and child development are two key areas of intervention in keeping a check on infant and child mortality and the importance of nutrition in growth and development of a child can determine how well children perform in schools, their future health, and future opportunities to become productive members of society and break cycles of poverty and deprivation.
The way forward: Donate to support child health and nutrition
With schools closed, children from the most deprived background have limited access to mid-day meal schemes and families have diminished access to public health and food security schemes, and there is a growing evidence that more children will become malnourished. Over 14,200 cases of malnutrition have been addressed in children from vulnerable communities by ActionAid Association by linking school with children, linking families with food security and employment programmes and supporting kitchen gardens and climate resilient sustainable agriculture for subsistence and livelihood. This World Health Day you can donate to support child health with Act for Children. Act for Children is a programme by ActionAid Association to provide basic rights of protection, nutrition, and education for all children to ensure the health and well-being of the most vulnerable children.
Donate now for a fairer, healthier world.
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