New Delhi: A drive to raise awareness and promote good health practices among over 1.5 lakh primary students of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) schools was launched here on Tuesday.
The 'Swasthya Bacche, Shikshit Bacche' programme, would run jointly by Heal Foundation and the EDMC under the Prime Minister's 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' would raise awareness and good health practices among young students on the crucial topics of sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, fitness and stopping child abuse.
"In the first phase of the programme, we will attempt at educating children and teachers in 100 schools about small things that they can do to clean their surroundings," EDMC Chairman (Education Committee) Harsh Malhotra said.
Around 398 schools run by the municipal body would be covered under the programme in four phases over a time period of 18 months.
"It was an idea of the EDMC which we are executing through the Heal Foundation in continuation with the PM's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan," Malhotra said.
Speaking about the importance of the campaign, EDMC Mayor Meenakshi Suryavanshi said it was unfortunate that "approximately 5 lakh children die before reaching the age of five every year".
"If children are taught the importance of personal hygiene from the beginning, their illness could be prevented and for this, we need to engage their parents as well," she said.
Citing official data, Malhotra claimed that an amount of around Rs 11,000 crore is spent on the problem of diarrhoea 80 per cent of which is spent on children every year.
"This amount could be saved if children are made to wash their hands," he said holding diarrhoea related illness to be a major cause of absenteeism among a large number of students.
On the occasion, students from an EDMC school performed a play on the significance of cleanliness.