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Screening underway in Jharkhand to check, treat health issues among 2.19 lakh adolescent students

Officials said this is the first time a preliminary screening of students of the age group 10-19 years will be simultaneously conducted at all the 24 districts with the help of ‘Health and Wellness Ambassadors’.

icials said that students diagnosed with certain diseases will be provided follow-up care at the district level and the expenses will be borne by the government to reduce the “out of pocket” health expenditure. (Representational image)

In a bid to ensure early detection of health issues and timely intervention among adolescent students in Jharkhand, the state health department is conducting a ‘School Health Campaign’ for 2.19 lakh students of Classes VI-XII of all government and aided schools.

Officials said this is the first time a preliminary screening of students of the age group 10-19 years will be simultaneously conducted at all the 24 districts with the help of ‘Health and Wellness Ambassadors’.

Jharkhand Health and Family Welfare Department’s resolution dated November 14 stated that the process will begin next week for a period of 15 days where the ambassadors, who have already been trained in different modules for health promotion and disease prevention information on 16 thematic areas, will conduct the initial screening based on physical appearance and through a set of questionnaires. It will be followed by a two-month long check up by doctors from the block level after which, tertiary care will be provided, if needed.

The initiative assumes significance as more than two-third children and women of the state are anaemic, according to the latest National Family Health Survey. Also, adolescent health has not received adequate attention in the state, experts said.

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The resolution signed by the Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Arun Singh stated, “The health check-up of more than 2.19 lakh students from Classes VI-XII in government and aided schools are being done to detect diseases like tuberculosis, anaemia, skin diseases, vision-related problems, filariasis among others. These diseases go unchecked and later lead to various problems.”

Officials emphasised that students till primary school, Class V, are not included in this campaign. Singh told The Indian Express, “The focus is on adolescent health this time. There are various schemes to tackle the health of children.”

Officials said that the entire campaign is being done under the Health and Wellness Programme launched by the central government in 2020. Rafat Farzana, who works as a consultant with the state’s National Health Mission looking into adolescent health, said, “This is a first-of-its-kind in the state where the screening will be done within a fixed time. The teachers, who are the ambassadors in this case, will then fill a Google form with all the details. The data will then be passed on to block level and subsequently, the medical officers under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBKS) programme will take over. The medical officers will reach the schools on their mobile for the check-ups.”

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Farzana added, “RKBS, a programme launched by the Centre, involves screening of children from the birth to 18 years of age for the four Ds: Defects at birth, Diseases, Deficiencies and Development delays, spanning across 32 common health conditions. A child may be referred to a tertiary care centre, if required. All the expenses will be borne by the government.”

Officials said that students diagnosed with certain diseases will be provided follow-up care at the district level and the expenses will be borne by the government to reduce the “out of pocket” health expenditure.

First published on: 24-11-2022 at 04:07:19 pm
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