Vitamin A and Albendazole Administered to Children in Mayakund
Under the guidance and inspiration of HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji – Muniji, President of Parmarth Niketan, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) and Divine Shakti Foundation (DSF) organized a health camp in Mayakund slum, where Vitamin A drops and Albendazole de-worming pills were given to countless children under the age of 5 years. The camp was held in collaboration with SevaChild International and Rural Development Institute (RDI), Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust.
According to internationally recognized guidelines, each child 6-11 months of age needs one dose of 100,000 IU (International Units) vitamin A annually, and each child 12-59 months of age needs two doses of 200,000 IU vitamin A annually. According to recognized guidelines for Albendazole, each child 12-59 months of age should receive two doses of it annually.
Vitamin A supplements make immune systems stronger, helping to maintain good eyesight and fight off life-threatening diseases for children who lack access to foods with vitamin A. When children do not have this nutrient during the early stages of growth, they can fall ill, remain underdeveloped, go blind and even die.
Parasitic intestinal worms in children can not only cause pain, uneasiness, and poor health but also lead to malnutrition. Children infected by worms are at risk of malnutrition, even though symptoms are not always obvious. Regular de-worming allows children to absorb the important nutrients needed for good health. Long-term solutions to the spread of intestinal worms also include better sanitation and hygiene, for which public awareness and education are important.
Vitamin A and de-worming tablets, given to at-risk children under the age of 5, fight immediate risks of illness or death faced by those lacking regular access to healthy foods face, and help build children strong foundations for long-term success.
At the health camp in Mayakund, doctors from RDI and DSF, supported by volunteers from Seva Child International, administered the Vitamin A drops and Albendazole de-worming pills to the children in suitable doses according to age. Alongside, volunteers from GIWA educated the assembled children and families on the importance of safe water, sanitation and hygiene for a healthy and peaceful society.
Blessing the gathering, HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, co-founder and chair of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) and founder of Divine Shakti Foundation (DSF), said: “Our children are our future, and they deserve a strong start in life that is free from disease and malnutrition. We must all work together to ensure that every child in our country and around the world has access to safe, life-giving Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, along with timely and effective medical aid for both prevention and cure of diseases. We need to build a hygienic, healthy, harmonious and happy society. For this, each one present here must take a pledge to serve and help in whatever way they can.”
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, President of DSF and Secretary-General of GIWA shared, “For our lives to be successful and happy, we have to be healthy. To be truly healthy, we have to have hygiene. If we are ill with diarrhea or cholera we cannot go to school or work or fulfill our potential. It is for this reason that health, hygiene, harmony and happiness all go together. So today’s program is uniting health care with hygiene and sanitation training so that you can continue to maintain good health for yourselves and your family.”
Shri Prem Chandra Agrawal, Speaker of Legislative Assembly, Government of Uttarakhand, lauded the social vision and commitment of Pujya Swamiji, and especially to His dynamic leadership on the issues of safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all.
Shri Deep Sharma, Chairman Rishikesh City, announced that 15000 dustbins will be installed by the Municipal Corporation all along the Ghats in this area of Rishikesh.
Mr. Rick Carlton and Mr. John Gideon talked about the work being done by their NGO, Seva Child, which is working in across India to administer Vitamin A and Albendazole to children under 5.
The prizewinning children gifted sacred Rudraksha saplings to Shri Prem Chandra Agrawal, Shri Deep Sharma, Mr. Rick Carlton and Mr. John Gideon as marks of honour for their services to society.
Rishikumars from Parmarth Niketan’s Gurukul entertained and inspired the gathering with a colourful puppet show and melodious songs on the importance of safe water, sanitation and hygiene. Students from Him Jyoti School for underprivileged girls performed a street play titled “Nirogya Bharat” to raise awareness on the importance of a balanced diet and hygiene.
The programme concluded with a mid-day meal in which over 400 people, including children, parents, volunteers and distinguished guests, sat down together, ate and mingled with each other.