Doctors from the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) launched a new television network to broadcast information regarding maternal and child healthcare and nutrition on Wednesday.
The network will be installed in the waiting rooms of 25,000 private clinics across the country and will air programmes and cartoons on good nutrition practices and the importance of immunisation, said doctors.
“We want to tap into the time mothers spend in waiting rooms, and educate them on the importance of good nutrition, the correct ways of breastfeeding and the importance of immunisation,” said Dr Pramod Jog, national president, IAP.
“The programmes will initially be in Hindi and English. An additional seven languages will be made available later,” he added.
A survey of 100 hospitals by IAP found that mothers and children, on an average, spend nearly one hour in the waiting rooms of clinics daily. The survey results also suggested that 40% of pregnant women have low body mass index (BMI) - a measure of body fat based on weight and height.
Mothers with low BMI are likely to give birth to underweight children whose growth may be stunted, said doctors.
Dr Anupam Sachdeva, consultant paediatrician, Sri Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi, said the need for such a programme stemmed from the fact that doctors do not get enough time with each patient. “Doctors are over- burdened with patients who can be treated at the primary and secondary care levels. It is not possible to spend time with each patient and educate them about proper nutritional habits,” he said.
While the pilot project will start in Mumbai, doctors said they want to introduce this programme in government-run hospitals, especially in rural areas, where maternal deaths are high.