Covid-19 outbreak: Kids in shelter homes practise hygiene in UP

Shelter homes for children are under strict vigil as no one except staff is allowed to enter the premises. Earlier, there were some visitors but now even the child welfare committee is inspecting or communicating with children through video calls.
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Published on Mar 27, 2020 08:12 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By, Lucknow

A week ago, children in shelter homes were irritated when constantly reminded about handwashing and social distancing, but now when the entire country is under an unprecedented lock-down, they rush to the washbasin for a proper hand wash.

Lock-down is not unusual for them, as they are already confined to the precincts of the shelter home. But the shelter home staff has been telling them to maintain hygiene, showing videos on phone or television. “Most of them now know that there is something like a coronavirus outbreak, which has put the country under lockdown,” said Rita Tamta, superintendent of Government Shelter Home for Girls, Motinagar which currently houses 111 inmates.

“A week ago, we told the children to maintain social distancing, especially while watching TV or playing. Gradually they were educated about the virus spread and safety measures. Some of them understand the gravity while small children take the activities as fun,” she said, adding that maintaining social distancing was the toughest task especially among smaller children. However, motivated by games and proper counselling, the children were practising it.

Shelter homes for children are under strict vigil as no one except staff is allowed to enter the premises. Earlier, there were some visitors but now even the child welfare committee is inspecting or communicating with children through video calls.

“There has been a competition among a few children for hand washing while small children who forget are made to watch videos again. Games are being played to practice social distancing,” Tamta said, adding: “With each passing day, children come up with different questions on coronavirus. One task is to keep ourselves ready with answers.”

CWC member Sangeeta Sharma said, “It is easy for bigger children to educate younger ones about personal hygiene and make them understand the situation.”

The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has been functioning from the homes of the members and has adopted preventive measures. “We are not sending the rescued children directly to the shelter home. They are sent to the hospital for primary check-up and if they show flu-like symptoms, they are admitted to hospital,” said Sharma.

A woman and child development official said self-hygiene was part of routine activities but now children were being paid extra attention. “There are few children infected with flu, who have been treated separately. Even in normal situations we can’t afford any illness to any child,” he added, requested anonymity.

The government on Thursday added the employees of the shelter home and associated services in the list of the essential services so that the homes could function in a proper way.

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