Comprehensive child health policy needed: NCPCR chairperson

Sinha was speaking during the public hearing and state-level consultation on the rights of children in the context of HIV/AIDS in Karnataka organised in collaboration with Action Aid and other NGOs, held here on Friday.

After conducting similar hearings at Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Manipur, the NCPCR had moved to Karnataka, where it heard 22 cases from across the State.

Interestingly, none of the other three States have a Commission to look into child rights issues yet.

Some of the key issues that emerged during the hearing were nutrition, access to education, children becoming care providers, stigma and inheritance issues, said Sinha.
To tackle these issues, she said that there has to be a solid policy to not only provide easy access to nutrition for children on ART, but also for those children who can be prevented from getting into ART.

“We heard several cases where the child’s father had died and the family had thrown out the child and the mother without giving his share of property to them. Hence, we need to see that their legal entitlements are protected," she said.

Meanwhile, the State Child Welfare Commission has reciprocated to a request by deciding to conduct pilot hearings at Udupi and Mangalore, from where many cases came for this hearing. “We will conduct the hearings next month,” said Commission’s chairperson Nina Nayak.

Explaining the purpose of the public hearing, Sinha said, “We are trying to look at how these children can live with dignity and enjoy their rights like any other child. During these public hearings, many issues emerge and we notice a pattern. This helps us understand the gaps in the government policies.”

Although, the government's policies to access ART treatments are clearly laid out, the procedures must become more simplified, Sinha said. NCPCR will proceed with similar hearings in Mumbai and Delhi after which it will plan a detailed child rights policy framework.

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