Delhi’s WCD dept to collect data on children who lost one or both parents to COVID

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By PTI

NEW DELHI: Delhi’s Women and Child Development department will collect data on children who have lost one or both parents to the coronavirus pandemic so that they can avail the benefits announced by the government, officials said Monday The data will be collected with the assistance of the health department, WCD Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said while chairing a high-level meeting to review preparations to deal with a possible third wave of COVID-19.

The minister told PTI that caregivers of such children will be able to apply online also.

The meeting was attended by the Director of the Department of Women and Child Development (WCD), Director of Social Welfare Department and senior officers of the Health Department, Rajiv Gandhi Hospital and Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, an official statement said.

Officials said that with the data on children who have lost one or both parents to COVID, the government will be able to effectively reach out to them with it is schemes.

Last month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that the government will bear the cost of education and upbringing of children orphaned by the pandemic.

Gautam said that his department will execute the schemes.

“The data is being collected to identify such children who can be given benefits. We will be taking the data of fatalities from the health department and also deploying our officers for it.

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“Also, people will be applying online to avail the schemes. I have given directions to prepare the form within the next two days. The form will have to be filled by the caregivers of the children,” Gautam told PTI.

The form will be available on the respective district portals.

The Delhi Commission For Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has identified 32 children who were orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic in the national capital.

Ten more children have been identified who have lost their single parent to the viral disease, the panel had said.

Gautam said that the data collected by the DCPCR will also be helpful The Director of the WCD department said that data is being sought from the Health Department so that a survey can be conducted to know about the actual number of such children, including if they are homeless or differently-abled The officials of the health department informed the minister about the ongoing preparations for children across hospitals in Delhi which include special ventilators and masks, the statement said.

Special arrangements are also being made for parents of children who are in hospital in terms of their stay and vaccination.

A provision is also being made for the vaccination of parents, it said.

The only effective measure to protect children is by vaccinating the parents and ensuring a sound medical infrastructure catering to the needs of children, the statement said.

In the meeting, the minister ordered that all the departments will have to work in close coordination with each other to ensure the safety of the children who are vulnerable in the potential third COVID wave, the statement said.

Officers of the WCD Department apprised the minister that children living in institutional care such as children’s homes, observational centres and shelters have to be prioritised with the help of NGOs and Anganwadi workers.

For this, the department will have to work as a nodal agency between all childcare homes, observation homes, NGOs, etc to ensure smooth and seamless coordination, it said.

In childcare institutions, trained employees will be required during the potential third wave of Corona, for which preparations need to be made.

WCD officials said that a mobile unit can be used to provide medical facilities to such institutions.

The fact that caregivers, staff and supervisors of children’s homes need to be vaccinated on a priority basis was also discussed in the meeting.

The Health Department said that experts should be available in every child care home so that they can assess how many beds, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, etc.

would be needed in each institution, the statement said.

“All these preparations are being made keeping in mind the third COVID wave which is expected to impact children and also the fact that vaccines for children under 18 are still not available in India,” the statement added.

Gautam instructed the officials that there should be seamless communication and coordination between all agencies and departments.



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