Strengthen  pediatric Covid hospitals: NHRC

Hamirpur (HP): The National Human Rights Commissioner has issued an advisory to protect the rights of children in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been issued keeping in mind the continuing impact of the pandemic on children and the apprehensions of experts about the third wave of the pandemic.

This is the fifth advisory in the advisory 2.0 series that the Commission has issued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Deputy Commissioner, Debasweta Banik today.

She informed that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued the advisory to the Secretaries of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of School Education and Literacy, Department of Food and Distribution, Chief Secretaries of States and Administrators of Union Territories.

In the letter, it has been asked to implement its recommendations mentioned in the advisory and has sought action taken report on it within four weeks. The reports of various authorities are required to include specific measures taken to protect the rights of children in view of the circumstances arising out of the pandemic. The advisory has focused on four key areas of health, education, child care institutions and orphans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its recommendations, the Commission has recommended strengthening of Pediatric COVID Hospitals and protocols, leading all hospitals to display contact information of CHILDLINE (1098), Local Child Welfare Committee (CWC), District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), local police, etc. instructions have been given.

The Commission has said that the Ministries and Departments at the Central and State-level should also immediately and prominently set up a page related to COVID on their websites.

District magistrates have to take steps to financially support families who have lost one of the parents by linking them to existing social security plans and policies within 4-6 weeks of the parent’s death. This should include steps to expedite the benefits announced by the Prime Minister under the ‘PM-Cares for Children’ scheme, the Deputy Commissioner added.

She said that in order to disseminate information about the toll-free telephone counseling service available at 1800-121-2830 for psychological support to children during the COVID pandemic, the Commission has issued an official notification regarding various categories of children tested for COVID-19. Special steps should be taken to maintain separate data on the website and strengthen Pediatric COVID care facilities. Issues such as universalization of digital facilities for access to online education for all children and allocation of adequate budget specifically for this purpose have also been covered in the advisory.

Similarly, the prevention of problems like child labor, child marriage, or trafficking and drop out due to pandemic, provision of all necessary facilities in child care institutions, digitization of proceedings of Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards as well as all institutions and institutions related to children. NHRC has also issued guidelines on important subjects like vaccination of officers and employees of the state.

“The Commission has said that for children who have lost their parents during the COVID pandemic, the Nodal Department for Children in coordination with the State Government should work to strengthen sponsorship and foster care” says the Deputy Commissioner. (UNI)

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