Realising the need to check malnourishment among school students in the city that ranks at the top among major cities in the state, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation School Board has declared the current academic session as a year dedicated to control malnourishment among school students studying in Class I till V. The pilot project is scheduled to be launched within a week from Nava Vadaj Municipal School Number 9 and 10.
With this, the AMC school board has taken a lead in launching a separate health programme for schools dedicated to malnourishment in addition to the existing state government’s School Health Programme (SHP) run across primary and secondary schools in the state since 1997 and covers nearly two dozen of ailments.
“The project at the municipal level has been conceptualised to check the issue at local level that would be further substantiated by the state-wide school health programme,” said AMC school board member and health expert Dr Parag Thakar.
Till May this year, as per state government records, the number of malnourished children in Ahmedabad is 43,820 making it at the top among three major cities followed by Vadodara and Rajkot. Vadodara is number two with 8,367 malnourished children followed by Rajkot with 4,867. Ahmedabad topped in 2012-13 as well with 76,555 children suffering from malnourishment, while in Vadodara and Rajkot it was 8363 and 4867.
“There is no particular reason for selecting the schools, but that these have a considerable number of students from different financial backgrounds whose health parameters would be assessed under the project to identify malnourishment,” said AMC school board chairman Jagdish Bhavsar.
If detected, the child would be put under a course of supplements and a diet plan prescribed by doctors and dieticians. Apart from this, awareness and counselling sessions for parents is another feature of this project. This involves a team of doctors practising allopathy and homeopathy treatment along with dieticians.
“At present, nearly 80 per cent of students are taking the mid-day meal. Addition of nutrients along with taste value to the food is being planned to ensure maximum students take the mid-day meals,” revealed one of the dieticians associated with municipal schools.
During the year 2012-13, the State Health Programme (SHP) results revealed an alarming number of 4.37 lakh children to be suffering from malnutrition out of a total of 1.5 crore students in 99,036 anganwadi centres, primary, secondary and higher secondary school across the state that were covered under the health programme.