SCHOOL CHILDRENS NUTRITION AND.
The parlous problem of school-going childrens nutrition has hitherto flouted all efforts of the experts in this country in finding a solution. Suggestions are being often proffered by lay and medical authorities and subjected to academic discussion, without achieving any tangible result yet. Lt. Col. A.C. Chatterji, I. M. S,, Director of Public Instruction and the University of Calcutta interested themselves for a time with this question but have since conveniently allowed it to flatten, as the question threatened to burn their fingers over financial furnace ; but Col. Chatterji has boldly asserted that at least a midday meal can be provided for hungry younger children at a cost of one pice per head and for grown-up children two pice per head provided there is a voluntary agency for the preparation and distribution of this meal.
Where preparation and distribution of this meal. Where to get this voluntary agency to undertake this social service cum humanitarian work ! We hoped the Corporation of Calcutta which boasts of being the premier civic body in the East would at once take the cue and implement Col. Chatterjis scheme in the Corporation Free Primary Schools scattered all over the city.
But where civic affairs are subordinated to party politics, so much so that even classes in these schools are allowed to go indefinitely without teachers replacing those on leave or retired -the honorary city fathers being preoccupied-one must not hope to find civic initiatives taken up. For conditions prevailing generally in these and other schools, we would invite reference to the section of “Relata Refero” in the Homoeopathic Herald, Vol. II., No. 12.
Time and again, attention of Central Government has been given to this question. At the Sixteenth Annual Medical Research Workers Conference held at Delhi in 1938, The Honble Sir Jagdish Prasad and Col. Bradfield discussed this question with the delegates but people cannot visualize any result yet.
This year, the Central Board of Health proposed to hold a meeting at Poona on July 22, 23 and 24, under the presidency of the Honble Sir Girija Shanker Bajpai, Member in charge of the Department of Education, Health and Lands of the Government of India. As an additional item in the agenda we find it for the first time the important question of the improvement of school going childrens nutrition and medical provision free of charge throughout India. Sir Girija Shanker has always been known to make bold move and to carry it to success.
We hope his present advance will be not less fortunate than his past achievements. We are only a little dubious on account of the double generousness of this item. The nutrition problem alone makes many a veteran health marshal fight shy for shortage of funds, and free medical provision for the school-going children implies financial enigma of staggering magnitude.
To us the proposition is unthinkable in view of the usage seen day at the most well financed Government hospitals where the poor outdoor patient is asked to provide from his own vacant pocket ampoules of injectable medicines and sometimes to pay for even drinkable potions. We have heard of enterprising young medical graduates having, by circumstantial urge, formed medical attendance and medical to private of free medical attendance and medicine to private persons and families who may be registered therein at a fee of Rs. 2/- per month ; details of this proposition are not before us at the moment, yet on the very face of it, common sense will not swallow it; for the enormous cost of allopathic drugs is too well known to the public drugs is too well known to the public.
Substantially subsidized, such a society may keep on struggling for some years before enlisting public confidence and cooperation, In the case of the Central Board of Health something could at once be done if there was the will. But even then it is hard to fine the requisite finance for implementing the scheme to an adequate degree and extent, without inviting unpleasant and formidable opposition. To get out of this perplexity Homoeopathy is the only recourse.
It is the cheapest, the pleasantest, the safest and the surest medical aid. But here again the path may be found thorny for the well organized and obtrude opposition of the Medical Trade Union. With his unparalleled courage and tact perhaps Sir Girija can, if he so wills, over-rule the unions obduracy and adopt Homoeopathy for providing free medical aid to the millions of school-going children all over the country.
If the Central Board of Health intends to grant the children medical provision (not merely an eye-wash of teeth examination and sight testing) free of charge throughout India, let no be permitted to stand in its way. And for the childrens nutrition, Col. Chatterjis one pice and two pice midday meal proposition should be given a trial for a fair length of time along with educating the guardians in the food value of nutritious food stuffs and their mode of preparation, supplemented with H.E. Lord Linlithgows advice to DRINK MORE MILK.