Karnataka

TAC recommends reopening of anganwadi centres in Karnataka

A file photo of parents leaving their children at an anganwadi centre in Bengaluru.

A file photo of parents leaving their children at an anganwadi centre in Bengaluru.

Karnataka’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has recommended reopening of anganwadi centres in the State. Following this, Women and Child Development Department is expected to issue directions to reopen the anganwadi centres and creches shortly.

“These centres can function full day (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) with serving of hot meals, milk and eggs to children. There is no need for children to wear face masks,” stated the TAC’s recent advisory to the State.

On a similar note, the TAC had on January 25, recommended reopening of the 544 creches (Shishu Palana Kendras) run by NGOs in the State.As many as 13,600 children aged six months to three years of working mothers are being taken care of in these creches.

At its 154th meeting held on February 2, TAC members reviewed the current scenario of COVID-19 in the State (till February 1) that is showing a declining trend. “The daily new cases have fallen from 50,210 on January 23 to 14,366 on February 1. The test positivity rate (TPR) has plummeted from 22.9% on January 21 to 13.4 % on February 1. Besides, active cases have also dropped from 3.6 lakh on January 24 to 1.9 lakh on February 1,” TAC sources said.

“Most importantly, hospitalisation rate has also declined from 5% to 6% in the first week of January to 2%-3% in the last week of January. Over 88% of the adult population in the State is fully vaccinated. The TAC took all these parameters into consideration and after due deliberations has recommended opening of full day anganwadi centres,” TAC sources said.

Presently, schools (Class I and above) are open throughout the State. In Bengaluru, Classes I to IX reopened on January 31, 2022.

Guidelines

According to the TAC report, the anganwadi centres can be reopened with strict compliance to all COVID protocols. “Only asymptomatic children — those without cough, running nose, cold, sneezing, throat pain and fever — should be allowed inside. Children with the above symptoms should be referred to the nearest health centre for medical advice,” the report stated.

“The staff in the anganwadi centres should be strictly asymptomatic. They (staff) should have had two-dose vaccination certificates and the second dose should have been taken earlier than 14 days. The staff should compulsorily wear a clean, good face mask covering mouth and nose correctly. However, N95 masks are recommended. At the entry, the children should be applied hand sanitizer and the bottle should be strictly kept out of reach of the children. There is no need for children to wear face masks,” the report stated.

Adequate physical distance (at least one meter/three feet) should be maintained. There should be good natural ventilation in the centres. The health staff should regularly visit the centres to ensure compliance to the protocols,” the report stated.

Fumigation of rooms

Priyanka Mary Francis, director of Women and Child Development department, said directions to reopen the anganwadi centres and creches will be issued shortly. “As these facilities were not functioning for a long time, we will have to take up extensive sanitisation/fumigation of the rooms and equipment in the centres. All the protocols listed by the TAC will be followed strictly,” she said.

The State has 66,361 anganwadi centres where 19.72 lakh children aged three to six years are enrolled, the official said.

Welcoming the TAC’s recommendation, Sunanda, general secretary of Karnataka Rajya Anganwadi Naukarara Sangha, CITU, said the pandemic had hit the well-being of anganwadi children. “Although food grains were being provided, they were missing out on physical activity. We hope now anganwadi workers will not be deployed for any COVID duties,” she said.

WFH for physically challenged

Following a request by the Karnataka Government Blind Employees Association seeking exemption to attend office physically, the TAC has recommended work from home facility till February-end for people with physical disabilities.

“In view of the prevailing COVID-19 scenario in the State, TAC recommends exemption to visually impaired persons from attending work physically till the end of February 2022. Instead they shall be permitted to work from home, wherever relevant. In this context, TAC also recommends that the same facility shall be extended to other persons having physical disabilities,” stated the TAC’s report.


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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 1:28:08 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/tac-recommends-reopening-of-anganwadi-centres-in-karnataka/article38385236.ece