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77 per cent children below 5 years in J&K couldn't access basic healthcare during lockdown: CRY


COVID_lockdown--_EPS

SRINAGAR: Seventy-seven per cent children below five years of age in Jammu and Kashmir were not able to access basic healthcare services like immunisation during the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, CRY said on Monday citing a study.

The 'Rapid Online Perception Study about the Effects of COVID-19 on Children' was conducted during the first and second phases of the lockdown based on responses of parents and primary caregivers from all across the country, including Jammu and Kashmir, the NGO said in a statement.

It said a total of 387 respondents from Jammu and Kashmir participated in the study.

"Seventy-seven per cent children of age 0-5 years were not able to access basic healthcare services such as immunisation during lockdown - necessarily imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Jammu and Kashmir," Child Rights and You (CRY) said.

It said as immunisation programmes witnessed a major setback during the lockdown across the country, the results of the survey across 23 states and Union Territories found nearly 50 per cent of parents with children below five years of age unable to access immunisation services.

"Worryingly, the figure was considerably high in Jammu and Kashmir with 77.14 per cent children below five years unable to get immunisation services," it added.

According to the study, in Jammu and Kashmir, nearly 35 per cent of the respondents said their children did not receive medical help during the lockdown, resulting in difficulties to cope with their children's illnesses and health hazards.

The study also talks about more systemic arrangements and logistical preparedness to ensure that children with no or compromised digital reach are not deprived from their Right to Education.

With online classes introduced as a substitute of schools during the lockdown, access to education for children remained a major issue of concern, as many of them, especially the ones from marginalised and financially poorer backgrounds found it difficult without smartphones and internet access.

The survey's findings revealed that nationally only 41 per cent households with children of school-going age could access online classes on a regular basis.

"Almost 90 per cent parents and primary caregivers reported that the lockdown has increased the screen time of their child to great or some extent.

"About half of the households recorded an increase of children's exposure to online activities during lockdown," it said. The NGO said around 76 per cent parents agreed that they could keep a watch of their children's online activity to some extent.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)