We have been working on various fronts to achieve our objectives including, Schools, Hospitals and with various other departments.
The children under 18 year constitute more than 50% of our population. By virtue of their immaturity, they are the most vulnerable population of our society. They are prone to face more hazards in our age of modernism than in any age of the history. They are exposed to many types of exploitations and abuses from various corners of society. It is the duty of parents, guardians, pediatricians, teachers, lawyers, journalists, media, NGO’s, social workers and governments to safeguard the children against all these odds.
The Child Rights and Abuse Committee of Pakistan Pediatric Association is striving for the protection of children rights and prevention from all types of abuse. There are many government and non-government organizations that, too, are working to safeguard the rights of children. All these organizations are working independently and there is no coordination in their activities to safeguard the rights of children and to protect them from the abuse. The result is that we do not see any significant effect of all these efforts in our society. The simple rule is that ‘one and one joined together make 11’. So, the dire need of hour is to integrate the activities of all these organizations. We can defeat the evil of child abuse only when we hit it from all sides
The other important and known fact that we need to keep in mind is that there are few inherent limitations of the government organizations. There are many steps involved at each step that lead to an unnecessary delay in the delivery of goods. There are many formalities, to make the matters transparent, but it hinders the smooth sailing of plans. They, usually, lack a strong commitment to the goals as they keep transferring from one project to another. On the other hand, Non-Government Organizations, usually, have a Goal and Commitment. By virtue of their lesser formalities and steps involved in delivery, they are better equipped to take part in the developmental issues at a better & faster pace.
To integrate all the organizations, it is required that a Coordinator be appointed who can coordinate the activities of all the relevant quarters and bring out a joint effort. The person should be a committed Child Rights Activist or a Pediatrician who understands the technical issues involved in the Child Abuse and their Rights.
The Schools and the Hospitals are the best place for interventions that will empower the children, teachers and doctors so that the children are better protected.
He should involve the schools for provisions of clean environment, accident free buildings, hygienic canteens, clean toilets, healthy class rooms and good play grounds. He should also ensure the schools are free from Physical and Emotional Abuse. The training workshops for teachers and students can be arranged for such purposes. He can help to form the “School health Committees” that will take care of all the matters regarding the Child Health, Protection and Abuse.
He can also try to involve the health institutions, doctors, nurses and paramedics in the detection of Child Abuse and reporting such matters. The necessary skill development in the health care providers should also be his responsibility.
Mobilizing all the society including parents, guardians, pediatricians, teachers, lawyers, journalists, media, NGO’s, social worker and government for the sake of children rights and to save them from abuse.
There are four major types of child abuse-Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Sexual Abuse and Neglect. The other areas of Abuse are Child labor, not sending the children to Schools, Commercial sexual exploitation of children, Child trafficking, Street children, Substance Abuse, Children with disabilities, Child marriages and Child beggars. All these areas need to be addressed by the coordinator in order to provide a concept of “Child Friendly City”.
The following steps can help to make Multan as the “Child Friendly City”.
- The district should actively pass the child friendly laws.
- Develop a city-wide children’s right strategy based on Child Rights Convention.
- Set a proactive coordinated Children Rights Unit for the District.
- Regular assessments and impact evaluations should be performed.
- A report of the state of the children in the city should be prepared.
- A campaign to disseminate the awareness about child rights.
- The children should be engaged as active participants in different activities.
- Budget may be earmarked for child rights protection.