December 24, 2005, Ranaghat, Press Release

In their attempt not to limit their activities to the city, but fan out to the suburbs and the countryside to bring awareness about consumer rights and other consumer issues, the consumer research and advocacy organisation Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) Calcutta Resource Centre organised a programme with the children today at the Ranaghat Bharati High School here.

At the outset, the students were briefly introduced to the concept of consumer rights and the significance of the National Consumer Rights Day that falls on Dec 24. The right to (consumer) safety was also emphasized.

The main programme consisted of building awareness of the school children on the very topical issue of the rational use of drugs. Some important precepts of rational drugs use, like indiscriminate use of over-the-counter medicines, not short-ending prescribed courses of medicines, to come clean with your doctor under all circumstances, etc were explained to the students that in effect constitutes responsible behaviour on the part of patients. A short film skit was shown on the occasion to underline the issues.

The last part of the daylong programme consisted of a debate “An Aspirin a Day Keeps the Doctor Away” among the school children. The lively debate also helped to bring out some of the concerns of this semi-urban community like the fact that patients were sometimes forced to discontinue medication for lack of funds. Prizes were given to the best speakers.

The event was graced by the Principal and attended by around 160 students of the school CUTS has been given a brief jointly by the Drug Controller General (India) and the World Health Organisation to bring out a manual listing the dos and don’ts regarding rational use of drugs from the consumer (patient)’s standpoint and to popularise the concept, and today’s programme was a part of this exercise.