August 13, 2021 3:12:57 am
The eligibility criteria for the School Health Programme (SHP) in the state has been extended enabling those pursuing education in any field and at any level, thus including those students academics at Industrial Training Institutes, colleges, and pursuing any degree or diploma course.
The decision was taken following a steering committee meeting held for reviewing the SHP in Gujarat on Thursday, which will allow students who are above the age of 18 to avail benefits of the scheme.
SHP under the National Health Mission’s ambit, is conducted by the health department of the state in collaboration with the education department and women and child development department, and conducts health screening and check-up once every year across the state.
The programme has however been in suspension since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020. The beneficiaries of the programme, in effect since 1997, include newborn to six year olds in Anganwadi centres, children up to 18 years in all schools as well as non-school going children up to age of 14 years.
Apart from primary screening for congenital defects, diseases, deficiencies and disabilities and providing primary care and treatment, the programme also includes referral services for secondary and tertiary care and super-specialty treatment including cochlear implants.
In a press note from the state government, it was stated that in case of cochlear implants, in case of any damage to the device, the same shall be replaced with the state bearing 50 per cent of the cost. For those diagnosed with serious diseases such as cancer or are in need of organ transplant, the treatment cost for the same shall be completely borne by the state. It was also decided that even if the need for an organ transplant was diagnosed before the age of 18 years and the organ was received by the person after turning 18 years of age, the same shall be treated free of cost by the state.
While 1.60 crore children up to 18 years were checked medically under SHP in 2019-20, due to Covid-19, “no children have been examined under the School Health Programme since. Of those screened in 2019-20, 20,674 children were diagnosed with heart diseases, 2,869 children were diagnosed with kidney diseases, 1,855 were diagnosed with cancer, 822 diagnosed with cleft lip-palate Of these, 25 children received kidney transplants, 163 received cochlear implants and 22 others received bone marrow transplants.
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