The state health department is undertaking an initiative to identify early health issues and provide timely intervention among adolescent students in Jharkhand through a ‘School Health Campaign’ targeting 2.19 lakh students in all government and aided schools.
With the assistance of ‘Health and Wellness Ambassadors’, a preliminary screening will be conducted simultaneously at all 24 districts for students aged 10-19 years.
An official resolution of the Health and Family Welfare Department of Jharkhand, dated November 14, stipulates that the process will begin next week and last for 15 days. A set of questionnaires and physical appearance will be used to conduct the initial screening, which will be conducted by ambassadors who have already been trained in multiple modules for health promotion and disease prevention information on 16 thematic areas. Following the check-up, doctors at the block level will conduct a two-month follow-up before providing tertiary care, if necessary.
According to the most recent National Family Health Survey, more than two-thirds of children and women in the state are anemic. According to experts, a lack of attention has also been given to adolescent health in the state.
As stated in the resolution signed by Arun Singh, the Additional Chief Secretary (Health) is conducting health checks for more than 2.19 lakh students in government and aided schools to detect diseases such as tuberculosis, anaemia, skin diseases, vision-related problems, filariasis, etc. Unchecked diseases result in a variety of issues in the future.”
It should be noted that this campaign does not include students until the fifth grade or primary school. According to Singh, the focus will be on adolescent health this time. There are several programs designed to improve children’s health.”
A central government official stated that the entire campaign falls under the Health and Wellness Programme launched in 2020. Rafat Farzana, a consultant with the state’s National Health Mission who specializes in adolescent health, says, “this is a first-of-its-kind screening program where the screening will be conducted within a specific timeframe.”. Teachers will then fill out a Google form with the necessary information. Following the data transfer to the block level, the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBKS) medical officers will take over the data management. A medical officer will conduct the school check-ups using a mobile device.”
According to Farzana, “The RKBS program, launched by the Center, involves screening all children from birth to age 18 for the four Ds: Defects at birth, Diseases, Deficiencies, and Developmental Delays, which encompass 32 common medical conditions. It may be necessary to refer a child to a tertiary care facility. The government will be responsible for all expenses.”
To reduce “out of pocket” health expenditures, officials said that students diagnosed with certain diseases would receive follow-up care at the district level.