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‘Active municipal body can boost child health’

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Matters of health: (From left) Chairman of INCHES 2010 H. Paramesh, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and former Chief Secretary J. Alexander displaying souvenirs at the conference in Bangalore on Monday.
Matters of health: (From left) Chairman of INCHES 2010 H. Paramesh, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and former Chief Secretary J. Alexander displaying souvenirs at the conference in Bangalore on Monday.

Staff Reporter

‘Asthma in children has increased from 9 p.c. in 1979 to 25.6 p.c. in 2009’

‘In summer, prevalence of asthma increases’

Bangalore: Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Monday asserted the need for having an active municipal body for better healthcare.

Speaking after inaugurating a three-day international conference on “Children’s Health and the Environment 2010”, organised by the International Network on Children’s Health Environment and Safety (INCHES) in the city, the Governor said: “Local municipal bodies play a prominent role in the city’s development and healthcare. In Europe and other western countries, municipal bodies play a significant role. Even the police force is under the control of the municipal bodies unlike the centralised one here.”

Pointing out that child healthcare was being ignored in the State, the Governor said the absence of elected municipal bodies and delay in holding elections has only added to the problem.

Neglect

The Governor said child health, which is a vital aspect of healthcare, is neglected totally in rural areas. Referring to the problems faced by Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), the Governor said: “It is unfortunate that the social health activists who are working towards improving Reproductive Child Health (RCH) and maternal health in rural areas are not being paid properly.”

On the environment, the Governor pointed out that all water bodies in the West, including small lakes, were maintained well and had crystal clear water.

“But in India, even the Ganga, that is considered to be holy, is highly polluted. Should outsiders come and tell us to keep our rivers clean?” he said.

Recalling how Bangalore was a green city when he had visited it 30 years ago, he said: “Now I am doubtful if it is the same city.” H. Paramesh, Medical Director of Lakeside Medical Centre and chairman of INCHES 2010, presented a paper on “Environment Pollution in our city and its impact on children’s health”.

He gave an overview about the trend of non-communicable diseases in the city. “Asthma in children has increased from 9 per cent in 1979 to 25.6 per cent in 2009. There is a change in the seasonal pattern too. In summer, the prevalence of asthma increased from 2.8 per cent to 19.7 per cent between 1994 and 2004.

It has been analysed that the slow-moving traffic causes increased emission and conversion to ozone in bright sunlight,” he explained.

More than 60 papers on various issues of child health in relation to environmental changes and the resultant social economic burden will be discussed during the conference, Dr. Paramesh added.

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