Plight of our street children
Tuesday, 08 July 2008

It is horrifying that some 73 percent of street children in the city are subjected to abuse and suffer from chronic malnutrition. Mortality and morbidity status among the street dwellers has reached an alarming level due to lack of basic healthcare services. The disadvantaged street children are most vulnerable to various complicated diseases because of overcrowding, poor environmental status, and unhygienic foodstuffs. Bangladesh has an annual growth rate of urban population. This is the highest rate in the world. Massive urbanization process is solely responsible for the large segment of street people in Dhaka city. This people remain beyond healthcare facilities. We recommend expansion of existing healthcare programmes to meet the needs of the street dwellers. A public-private healthcare mechanism may be developed to inform street people about availability of healthcare facilities. The government should adopt a comprehensive child protection policy and ensure sleeping arrangements for floating street children to protect them from any sorts of violence and abuse. It should also take steps to check migration from rural areas to Dhaka and other urban areas. For the street dwellers, lack of healthcare facilities is a very big problem. But more important is the availability of square meals. By toiling for the whole day they can hardly arrange necessary quantity of food. Hunger compels them to take most odd jobs and even criminal activities. Necessary care can ensure their proper physical and mental growth turning them into human resources. This will also prevent them from committing crimes. The nation needs that action on priority basis. The government, private service organizations and philanthropists should take up action programme for the unfortunate street children.

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