International conference on child health focuses on Health & Hygiene practices in children
11/19/2010

Lifebuoy Child Congress 2010 brought together medical professionals, students, principals, teachers, children with special needs, juvenile diabetics, health writers, nutritionists, social groups, a mix of decision makers and other relevant stakeholders to discuss sensitive but neglected issues as well as to implement solutions that can help bring about a significant change in people’s attitude and behaviour towards child health & wellness.

Online PR News – 19-November-2010 – – One of the most important aspects of healthcare we, in India tend to overlook is Health & Hygiene practices among children. Doctors agree that the incidence of various deadly infectious diseases like swine flu, dengue etc is increasing rapidly due to lack of sanitation and hygiene. Public health interventions are needed to break this chain of transmission. Experts aver that the incidence of infectious diseases can be reduced significantly with a mere implementation of simple interventions like hand washing. Unfortunately while formulating strategies to deal with infectious diseases enough emphasis is not laid on elementary measures like hygiene and hand washing.

“As early as 1847 a Hungarian physician Semmelweis Ignac was able to reduce the mortality rate in his maternity wards from 18% to 2% through the simple expedient of hand washing. Simple interventions like these can make a world of difference. This is especially true of a country like India where infectious diseases show no signs of abating. Unfortunately in India the curative aspect of medicine continues to engage the attention of clinicians and policymakers alike. I often say we seem to be more interested in mopping the floor than in turning off the tap” said Dr. C. S Pandav, Head of Department Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Dr. Pandav was addressing a 2000 strong gathering of doctors, social scientists, principals, teachers and school children at Lifebuoy Child Health Congress 2010, an international conference on child health. Held at India expo centre & mart, Greater Noida, the conference had been organized by HEAL in association with Vision Mission Foundation and Project HOPE. Inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Sh. Dinesh Trivedi, who released the Lifebuoy National Child Health Symposium Recommendations by experts at the beginning of the session focussed on the medical and social aspects of child health.

Addressing the gathering the minister said, “It is a shame that a nation aspiring to be a superpower has so many of its children falling victim to diarrhoeal diseases. We need to intervene urgently. Even as we formulate strategies to deal with the situation we must realize that more often than not the interventions needed are elementary. For instance, the uniform implementation of simple interventions like hand washing as Dr. Pandav has already pointed out might bring down the diarrhoeal mortality rate considerably. So basically it is a question of focussing on the fundamentals and hand washing is of course one of the fundamentals”.

At the school level, there is a need to educate children on the importance of hygiene (personal, classroom and environmental). Also, for quite sometime now there has been a felt need for regular health programmes in school curriculum as also for nutrition awareness programmes (including anti-tobacco and healthy eating campaigns). Experts are unanimous that we are not focussing enough on the importance of exercise and physical activity. On the other side, at the policy level, govt. machinery needs to be strengthened for implementation and monitoring of current nutrition and health programmes, for devising school health modules and for regulating and monitoring of food outlets.

The need for implementing simple hygiene measures like hand washing & cleanliness to break the vicious cycle of infectious diseases has been intensely felt for quite sometime now. In an attempt to counter this menace, Heal & Vision Mission Foundation planned to come out with some pragmatic solutions.

Dr. Sanjeev Bagai, CEO Batra Hospital and Chairman, Lifebuoy Child Health Congress said, “We must always begin by talking about first principles. Preventing the spread of infectious diseases is predominantly about breaking the chain of transmission of these diseases. Maintaining personal hygiene is the best way of doing this. Hand hygiene in particular is a very effective way of preventing the spread of some of the commonest infectious diseases. The origin of a large number of diseases might be traced to contact with contaminated surfaces. Diseases like Diarrhoea, Typhoid, Influenza and swine flu spread through contact with germs on doorknobs, lift buttons and bus handles. Maintaining personal hygiene therefore is very important. Washing your hands regularly and using disinfectant hand rubs and sprays is a very effective method of keeping infections at bay”.

Lifebuoy Child Congress 2010 brought together medical professionals, students, principals, teachers, children with special needs, juvenile diabetics, health writers, nutritionists, social groups, a mix of decision makers and other relevant stakeholders to discuss sensitive but neglected issues as well as to implement solutions that can help bring about a significant change in people’s attitude and behaviour towards child health & wellness.