The Union health ministry has launched a health campaign, urging school children to observe basic hygiene practices like hand washing to prevent infectious diseases.
During the Child Health Congress, held on November 14, health experts made a series of recommendations to the government to improve health standards in the country.
Certain guidelines were formulated that primarily revolved around school health and hygiene. The recommendations also stressed the need to adopt practical measures like the provision of disinfectant solutions and soaps in school washroom and toilets.
Minister of state for health and family welfare, Dinesh Trivedi expressed concern that a nation aspiring to be a superpower had such large number of its children falling victim diseases like diarrhoea that could easily be avoided by practicing basic hygiene methods.
"Uniform implementation of simple interventions like hand washing will help bring down the diarrhoeal mortality rate considerably. So, basically it is a question of focusing on the fundamentals and hand washing is one of the fundamentals," he said. Diseases like influenza, swine flu and typhoid spread through contact with germs on doorknobs, lift buttons and bus handles. Washing hands regularly and using hand sanitisers is an effective method of keeping infections at bay.
According to a report published in The Lancet, of the estimated 8.795 million deaths in children less than five years of age worldwide in 2008, infectious diseases caused 68% (5.970 mn) of the deaths. 49% deaths (4.294 mn) occurred in five countries with India leading the group.