Officials urged to improve the lot of disadvantaged children

Governor Muralidhar Chandrakant Bhandare on Saturday released UNICEF's ‘The State of the World's Children 2012: Children in an Urban World' appealing authorities to make world around disadvantaged children better.

“If we look at the national averages for most key child indicators, the advantage urban has over rural is clear. Many children enjoy the advantages of urban life such as schools, clinics and playgrounds, but when breaking down the numbers between urban poor and urban rich, we see a changed scenario,” said Mr. Bhandare.

He said, “we see how a child growing up in an urban poor environment has similar challenges as a child in rural India when it comes to her or his health, nutrition access to water and sanitation, education and protection. A child born in a slum in urban India is as likely to die before her or his first birthday, to become underweight and anaemic or to be married off before her 18 year as a child in rural India.”

“Unfortunately for the urban poor child, the situation most of time not as visible and gets diluted by a much rosier picture or urban life and opportunities. Great inequalities are existent within towns and cities where opportunities and deprivation exist side by side,” said Mr. Bhandare.

Speaking on the occasion, UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bhubaneswar, Shairose Mawji said, “cities will continue to grow and more children will find themselves living in an urban world; In a world where many children will enjoy the advantages of urban life such as schools, clinics and playgrounds. However, the reality is that these advantages will not be shared by all children.”

Ms. Mawji said, “in children less than 3 years of age, when we look at the aggregated data for urban, we see that 35 per cent of the children are stunted. But, when we disaggregate this to the urban poor, we then find that almost the same number of children is stunted between the urban poor and the rural children which is 46.5 per cent of urban poor children versus 45 per cent or rural children who are stunted in Odisha.”

“In the urban population, approximately 60 per cent have access to sanitation facility, but when it comes to urban poor, only 16 per cent have access to sanitation facilities as comparable to rural population which is 11.4 per cent,” she said quoting NFHS 2005-2006 data . Among others State Housing and Urban Development Secretary Sourabh Garg spoke on the occasion.

  • Urban areas enjoy a clear advantage over rural areas: Bhandare

  • ‘Only 16 per cent urban poor have access to sanitation facilities'