Care for Girl ChildIf there was one malaise that affectswomen worldwide, it would be theirtendency to place their needs and healthconcerns last, keeping their family’sneeds first and foremost. But if you don’ttake care of yourself, who will? And howwill you take care of others if you are notin the pink of health yourself? So whenit comes to girl child care, not onlyshould it start in the womb, but it isimportant that the mother too model ahealthy regime of healthcare for herself.
When it comes to the facts of girl childcare, it is medically well known that a girl’sbody requires more calcium, iron and othernutrients in its formative years, as the onsetof puberty and menopause much later in lifebrings about so many hormonal andchemical changes in a woman’s body. Unlessgirl child care is taken seriously, her bodymight not be able to withstand childbirthand the many other strains that a woman’sbody has to endure in the later stage if nottaken care of properly, like osteoporosis forinstance. Even if a woman chooses not to bea mother, her body has to be strong for thefuture and this foundation is laid in herchildhood.
Girl child care should ideally start byinstilling in the child a healthy sense of self,which is far removed from the imagesportrayed by the media and the prejudices ofsociety. Looking after her mind andexploring her inner potential andintellectual abilities should be given asmuch importance as nourishing her bodywith the right nutrients and food.
Girl child care obviously cannot be completewithout the nutritional aspect taken care off.Since a woman’s body needs more iron,calcium and folate, the sources of theseshould be amply included in the daily diet,from an early age. Apart from this, do notforget to include fresh fruits, vegetables, andmeat. Restrict the amount of salt, sugar, andoils in order to maintain a healthy BMI.For a more detailed nutritional guideline to girl child care, remember tohave at least 3 servings of fruit, 4 servings of vegetables, including leafygreens, and six or more servings of grain products. A good combinationof carbohydrates and proteins along with calcium sources like milk,cheese, yoghurt, is a must for complete girl child care, from a nutritionalstandpoint.
It is important to remember that it is notjust because girls are the future mothers whoare responsible for bringing up healthychildren that their health has to be lookedafter from an early age. Girl child care isimportant, irrespective of whether the girlwill become a mother tomorrow, because itis in the hands of society to bring up a futuregeneration where both boys and girls aretreated with equal care, love and affection.
STEPS TAKEN BY INDIANGOVERNMENT TO SAVE GIRLCHILDThe BackgroundHistorically, India has been one of the first countries toidentify the Girl Child as the focus of attention for improvingthe overall social and economic status of women.StepsThe Balika Samriddhi Yojanain 1997 is one of the mostimportant initiatives of theGovernment to raise overallstatus of the girl child.The Yojana aims to changefamily and communityattitudes towards both, thegirl child and the mother.
A series of incentives were included inthe Yojana, including the likes of a gift of Rs. 500/- tothe mother on delivery of a baby girl and the provisionof an annual scholarship for the girl, with the overallaim of improving enrolment and retention of girls inschool.In another major initiative, in 2005, the Government ofIndia also announced free and reduced cost educationfor girls. Those with two girls and no other childrenwere promised discounts of up to 50%. The programalso offered fellowships of US$ 45 per month for thoseundertaking post-graduate studies.Various State Governments have formulated StatePlans of Action for Girl Child, appropriate to thecondition prevailing in each state, prominentlyincluding Governments of Karnataka, MadhyaPradesh, Tamil Nadu and Goa.
Adding on, the Government had also set up policies like the NationalNutrition Policy (1993), which recognizes the stage of adolescence as aspecial period for a multi-sectoral nutrition intervention for the females.To ensure effective implementation of the Pre-Natal DiagnosticTechniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, a CentralSupervisory Board was also set-up under the chairpersonship of theMinister-in-charge of Health and Family Welfare.Furthermore, the National Policy on Education (1986) was formulated toaddress the question of setting right the traditional gender imbalances ineducation, making a strong commitment in favor of education forwomen’s equality.
A recent news story also reported a unique campaign being carried out byover 200 people across five northern and western states of India, under theleadership of the well-known religious leader and social activist, SwamiAgnivesh.Chief Minister of Haryana (India), Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hudda, also laudedthe consistent efforts of Swami Agnivesh in the Campaign Against FemaleFoeticide and pledged to extend all possible infrastructural support andassistance.Other beneficial schemes include the Adolescent Girls Scheme, the ChildSurvival and Safe Motherhood Programme, the Universal ImmunizationProgramme, special health check up schemes for primary school students,introduction of health cards in selected areas, evaluation of healthprogrammes, the Mid-day Meal Scheme for primary school children andnutrition education.Reports also indicate that the government aims to eliminate all forms of childlabor by 2020.
The Indian government has expressed astrong commitmenttowards education for all; however, Indiastill has one of the lowest female literacyrates in Asia. In 1991, less than 40 percent ofthe 330 million women aged 7 and over wereliterate, which means today there are over200 million illiterate women in India.This low level of literacy not only has a negative impact on women’s lives but alsoon their families’ lives and on their country’s economic development. Numerousstudies show that illiterate women have generally high levels of maternalmortality, poor nutritional status, low earning potential, and little autonomywithin the household. A woman’s lack ofeducation also has a negative impact onthe health and well being of her children. Forinstance, a recent survey in Indiafound that infant mortality was inversely related to mother’s educational level.Additionally, the lack of an educated population can be an impediment to thecountry’s economic development.
Education of girls and women in general hasbeen a high priority with the Government ofIndia . In the new millennium, India hasconsolidated its earlier educational reformswith increased resources and stronger policycommitments for achievingelementary educationfor all children,particularly girls.Girls Education at Elementary LevelRevised guidelines for Implementation of Kasturba Gandhi BalikaVidyalaya (KGBV)National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level(NPEGEL)-BriefRevised guidelines for implementation of NationalProgramme for Education of Girlsat Elementary Level (NPEGEL)