The teams will be headed by AYUSH doctors along with three other paramedics. Every block will have to have at least one team.
NEW DELHI: In the largest ever exercise to detect the three Ds — deficiency, disease and disability — among school children, the Union health ministry will soon start a massive screening and treatment programme that will cover 22 crore children (6-18 years) in 11 lakh government-run institutions across 15 states.
Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has recently sanctioned Rs 383 crore for 2012-13, and also set up 2,414 dedicated teams at block levels to conduct the school health programme (SHP) under the aegis of the flagship National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
SHP will undertake biannual health service provision through screening, healthcare and referral to look for anemia and assess the nutritional status of children, besides testing their visual acuity and hearing skills.
Dental check-up, common skin diseases, heart defects, physical disabilities, learning disorders and behaviorial problems will also be the programme’s priority.
Basic medicine kit to take care of common ailments prevalent among young school-going children and referral for service connectivity from primary till super-specialist health facilities will be undertaken.
Supplementation like fixed day immunization, micronutrient (Vitamin A and IFA) management, weekly supervised indigestion of iron folate tablets, administration of vitamin A and-de worming will also be conducted.
Azad says, “SHP will protect and promote the health of human capital from the beginning. It is universally known that healthy students are more receptive to education, which naturally, influences their scholastic attainment. Around 15 states have positioned dedicated teams for SHP.”
Once the dedicated teams are optimally operational, the ministry plans to include pre-school children through anganwadi centres under “SHP Plus”. “We are tying up with medical colleges so that children found deficient – physically or mentally — during screening can be given referral support there for free.
The teams will be headed by AYUSH doctors along with three other paramedics. Every block will have to have at least one team. UP alone has created 820 such teams,” a ministry official said.
The official added, “We want to conduct universal screening of population. Early detection is of prime importance in case of disability or disease.”
The ministry expects the programme to take off from January across all the 15 states.
The programme implementation plan says Chhattisgarh has set up 294 teams, Himachal Pradesh (140), Jharkhand (194), Uttarakhand (38), Assam (149), Meghalaya (39), Goa (11) and Arunachal Pradesh (32).
In Arunachal Pradesh, 14,523 children will be screened, Chhattisgarh (30 lakh), Himachal Pradesh (10.9 lakh), J&K (2.12 lakh), Odisha (64 lakh), UP (6 crore), Assam (42 lakh), Meghalaya (1.79 lakh) and Manipur (2.63 lakh).
Health clubs and health cabinets will also be introduced in government and government-aided schools. First aid room/corners/clinics with support from education department attended by trained staffs and connectivity with public health infrastructure will be established and physical education and activities will be popularized.[Source]