UNICEF and CACR form Maharashtra Interfaith Alliance for Health Issues
Thanks to an interfaith alliance (Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist), a campaign called “Apni Baat Aapno Ke Sanath” will be launched the first week of October and will focus on mental health, health vaccination and anemia among adolescents . This campaign is in collaboration with UNICEF and CACR (Citizen Association for Children’s Rights).
The volunteers of this campaign will go door to door in various neighborhoods of the city to raise awareness of these issues. The volunteers would be trained by experts who would carry the awareness message to every household in the locality. The awareness message is expected to reach 35,000 households by January 2023.
Various religious institutions like Jamaat e Islami-Hind, Archdiocese of Bombay, Brahma Kumaris Youth Wing and Buddhist Society of India participated in the campaign.
Archbishop Allwin D’Silva, Archbishop of Bombay Archdiocese said, “In India, religion plays a very important role and we are driven by it, so this alliance was very much needed. It also focuses on a larger picture where people of all faiths come together to work for a common cause.
“India has the largest universal adolescent anemia program in the world, targeting 116 million adolescent girls and boys. The program plays a pivotal role in protecting adolescents from the debilitating effects of anemia, breaking the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition in the country and safeguarding the health and potential of future generations,” the Archbishop added.
Sr. Kamlesh, national coordinator of the SAT wing of Brahma Kumaris, expressed the need to target people on their mental well-being. In particular, “Children and young people in India could feel the impact of COVID-19 on their health, both mental and physical, for many years to come. The population needs a support and guidance system to deal with the post-crisis situation. Additionally, we need to break the stigma of talking about mental well-being and asking for help to have a better life.
Madni Shaikh, Joint Secretary of Central Unit Mumbai, Jamaat e Islami – Hind (JIH), said, “Vaccination is the key to child survival. Vaccination is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to protect children’s lives and futures. Globally, 1.5 million deaths could be prevented if children were immunized. Some children could not be vaccinated due to past closures.
Sumeet Bhosle, Media Representative, Buddhist Society of India, said, “Being part of the interfaith alliance is important at this stage as we try to overcome the crisis due to the pandemic. Health is one of the main areas neglected by many. However, its repercussions are long-lasting. We agreed to come together with the aim of using our network and UNICEF expertise to reach the wider masses. It will be a door-to-door campaign with a specific message for people. »
Rajeshwari Chandrasekar, Head of UNICEF Office in Maharashtra, welcomed the decision and said, “We are extremely happy to partner with faith-based organizations who have committed to work with us on various issues related to health and nutrition. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and constant closures for two years, health and nutrition services have been affected around the world. There is an urgent need to address issues of anemia in young people, routine immunization and mental well-being. Anemia in adolescents negatively affects growth, resistance to infection, cognitive development and work productivity.
Nitin Wadhwani, Director and CEO, CACR said, “Maharashtra Forum – An Interfaith Alliance has a strong network among different communities who would carry our message to the grassroots. The campaign does not limit itself to raising awareness but provides resources, experts and advice on these issues. Mumbai would be a pilot project and later it would be extended to other areas.
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