The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctors to take clean-habit prescription to class

- Wash your hands

- Drink filtered water

- Wear clean clothes

- Keep your surroundings clean

Simple messages that can help avoid great health complications. But such messages do not seem to be reaching our children.

Worried at the rising incidence of environment-induced diseases among children, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has decided to initiate a campaign in schools and key localities of the city and adjoining districts to make students and teachers aware about personal hygiene.

IMA’s Bengal branch secretary Moloy Patra said diseases like diarrhoea, malaria, and respiratory tract infection, apart from skin diseases, are rising in leaps and bound in the city and the districts, mostly due to lack of awareness among people.

At a recent meeting, IMA representatives decided to step up its school health programme by starting counselling sessions for teachers. “Teachers have a big role to play by explaining the importance of personal hygiene to students,” said Patra.

It has been decided that a batch of instructors from the IMA will organise separate programme for teachers and students. Children will be explained the importance of day-to-day practices like regular bathing, cleaning nails, wearing clean clothes and drinking only filtered water. “These are little things that make all the difference,” said IMA joint secretary, headquarters, R.D. Dubey.

Doctors affiliated to the IMA have also decided to start an anti-smoking campaign, as more and more children are queuing up at the doctors’ chamber with respiratory tract infection and related problems, caused mainly by passive smoking.

Paediatric cases with vitamin A deficiency are also being regularly reported. As a result, IMA members have decided to start counselling sessions for parents, where they will be explained the need to include green leafy vegetables and fats in the diet for proper growth of children. Seminars will be organised from late-April.

“Many parents give unfiltered water to their children to drink, which is a crime. We have asked our counsellors to explain to parents that only boiled drinking water can prevent diseases,” Dubey explained.

To kick off the year-long programme, the IMA has decided to hold a two-day long seminar at Belghoria, on the northern fringes of the city, on April 26-27, followed by several programmes in central and south Calcutta, where children will be asked to attend health check-up camps.

The findings in the camps will be presented in seminars and a health database prepared for future use.

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