New Delhi: The deaths of children due to preventable causes is "shameful" and simple measures like hand-washing which can prevent it should be promoted, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said Wednesday.
"Hand-washing is likely to become the strongest possible public health movement. This prevents deaths in children," he said at an event to mark the Global Hand-washing Day here.
"It is a shame that we are not able to avoid deaths which are entirely preventable," he said.
The minister said that as part of the National Health Assurance Mission, the government was planning to focus on preventive and positive health.
He added: "This would be followed by providing Ayush drugs."
Harsh Vardhan said that in the next couple of months, the government was planning a slew of programmes to promote a healthy lifestyle.
He said: "I urge you to make health a social movement."
Global Hand-washing Day, observed Oct 15 every year, is a campaign to motivate and mobilise millions around the world to wash their hands with soap as a key approach to disease prevention.
The health minister said: "Hand-washing does not cost anything at all because one uses the same soap for various other reasons. It is a simple and effective intervention."
After signing on a board supporting the hand-washing campaign, Harsh Vardhan urged all sections of society, irrespective of age and social background, to be partners in the social movement on health.
He said: "All countrymen are invited to be part of this."
WHO's Country Representative Nata Menabde said that Global Hand-washing Day has a significance in the Indian context.
She said: "It is a simple and inexpensive way to reduce the disease burden. Today, it is aligned to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi."