In an effort to improve childcare during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, three quarantine centres and one COVID Care Centre were set up in Bengaluru to help take care of children affected by COVID-19. The quarantine centres were set up in KR Puram, Kadugondanhalli and Kengeri while the COVID Care Centre was set up in KR Puram in the city. These centres will help children whose parents are hospitalised or have succumbed to COVID-19 and also those residing in child care institutions who have contracted the COVID-19 infection.
"Childcare centres are the need of the hour given the sensitivity (of children being away from parents), the care they need and the risk of being open to the world and not having someone look after them," said Talha Salaria, who is a part of Aahan Vaahan, one of the groups involved in setting up the centres. These centres were set up by voluntary organisations working along with the Karnataka government's Child Welfare Committee. Cases will be referred to these centres through the national child helpline 1098 as well as other helpline numbers publicised by the voluntary organisations.
Currently, there are 27 children at the COVID Care Centre located at Divine Grace Institution at St Gaspar Retreat Centre campus in KR Puram. The COVID-Care Centre set up for children will provide care for both boys and girls in the age group of 6-18 and it can accommodate up to 60 children. The quarantine centres too are for children in the age group of 6-18. One facility will provide childcare to children (both boys and girls) of the age group 6-11 while two other facilities will provide childcare to boys and girls of the age group 12-18. "The quarantine centres will have facilities to test children and if they test positive, they will be shifted to the COVID Care Centre," says Talha.
The centres were set up by Dream India Network, Whitefield Rising and Aahan Vaahan. Dream India Network had earlier set up quarantine centres supported by the Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives in 2020. Whitefield Rising is a city-based citizens' movement while Aahan Vaahan is a lawyers collective that had worked to send migrant workers home in May 2020. Motherhood Hospitals provided training and set up the operating procedures for taking care of children in these facilities while Rainbow Children's Hospital is the point of contact if any child needs advanced care in a hospital.