Bangladesh's ailments are far too many to list and our seemingly never-ending problems are the topic of constant discussion, in living rooms and talk shows around the country. Yet interestingly one of our greatest problems, that of child health, never gets the attention it merits. Seemingly it is not fashionable to talk about how newborn children are treated, whether they are immunised or not, whether they are properly nourished or whether they will have the opportunity to grow up in a healthy environment. This major issue has been consigned to the back pages for too long. How we treat our children is an indictment of how we treat those less fortunate than us, and if that is the case, then as a nation we have a lot to answer for.
The government should not simply acquiesce to the sordid state of health services . They should feel just as outraged as those who are not able to access healthcare services, and as such the government must look into both a long-term and a short-term strategy to extend those services to the largest number of people. Numerous remote areas across the country have little or no access to healthcare services at all; in many ways they remain on the very fringes of our society. We provide nothing for them and ask for nothing in return. This is not the way it should be.
Investing in our children is essential for us to move forward, something that we have long avoided. In trying to solve our current problems we have put children on the back burner, but that cannot and should not be the case. Children are smart, capable and adaptive, and they seldom have a voice in our society. Often, they need a voice to speak up against their treatment, but by not giving them that space and time we are effectively muzzling them. Issues such as child molestation are taboo for numerous social reasons, yet if children were given a real voice in society then they would at least have the opportunity to speak up and out against those who molested them.
Our society neglects children from their birth. Young lives are extinguished even before they are allowed to bloom and that is something we must change. Children must be provided with proper healthcare services, they must be fed and taken care of properly and they must be given the opportunity to become productive members of society. If we don't fight for our children's basic rights, then who will?