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An investment in children's health, nutrition and education is the foundation stone for all national development.

Abstract

PIP:

A medical student at the Christian Medical College in Ludhiana, India, won first place in the First Annual Dr. S.M. Gupta Memorial Essay Contest with this essay on investing in the health, nutrition, and education of India's children. The health, nutrition, and education condition of India's children is substandard. 10% of infants die before their first birthday. 15% of children die before age 5. Many Indian children suffer from diarrhea and acute respiratory infections. Investment in immunization, oral rehydration therapy, hygiene, and health education would prevent many of these deaths and illnesses. Illness and death cost parents time, energy, and money. Children suffering from malnutrition and sickness cannot concentrate on learning. The state of today's children foretells the state of tomorrow's adults, work force, and leaders. Poor nutrition and health contribute to India's substandard economic productivity. India has 14% of the world's population, but produces only 1.2% of its gross national product. Even though India was the first country to have a national family planning program, its fertility and population growth rates are high. Investment in children's health would show parents the benefits of planning their families. It would also improve India's poor performance in sports and war as well as national prestige and socioeconomic development. The considerable number of illiterates reflect India's failure to invest in education. Females have a lower literacy rate than males. Girls in India suffer much discrimination. They receive less food, less medical care, less opportunities for education, and less recreation. National development depends on the active participation of girls. Prevention is the key: nourish the children, educate them, and keep them healthy.

PMID:
12346057
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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