Recognizing schools as useful platform, Government of India has launched “School Health Program” under Ayushman Bharat to strengthen health promotion and disease prevention intervention. It is a joint initiative of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource & Development.
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To provide age appropriate information about health and nutrition to the children in schools.
To promote healthy behaviors among the children that they will inculcate for life.
To detect and treat diseases early in children and adolescents including identification of malnourished and anemic children with appropriate referrals to P H-Cs and hospitals.
To promote use of safe drinking water in schools.
To promote safe menstrual hygiene practices by girls.
To promote yoga and meditation through Health & Wellness Ambassadors.
To encourage research on health, wellness and nutrition for children.
The school health promotion activities will be implemented in all the government and government aided schools in the country. This will be achieved through the joint efforts and close coordination between Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource and Development at all levels (Centre and State).
Package of Services under School Health
Ope-rationalization of the School Health Program me
The Program me has been developed based on the learning and experiences from a variety of global and national school based interventions.
Two teachers, preferably one male and one female, in every school designated as “Health and Wellness Ambassadors” will be trained to transact health promotion and disease prevention information in the form of interesting activities for one hour every week. These health promotion messages will also have bearing on improving health practices in the country as students will act as Health and Wellness Messengers in the society. Every Tuesday may be dedicated as Health and Wellness Day in the schools.
Selection of Teachers as Health and Wellness Ambassadors
It is recommended that proactive and self-motivated teachers with good communication skills, and ability to connect with students should be selected. The teachers from science, physical education background may be given preference. The age of teachers selected as Health and Wellness Ambassadors should be preferably below 45 years. States may consider giving special recognition at the time of promotions as an incentive for their contribution in promoting health in their respective schools.
Capacity Building of Health and Wellness Ambassadors
A cascade model of training will be followed. The National Level training will be conducted jointly by trainers from Ministries of Health & Education. The National Level Master Trainers will train, four State level trainers (State Council of Educational Research and Training (S C E R T), Department of Health/State Institute of Health and Family Welfare) at National level. These State trainers will then train three trainers per district at the State level. The three district level trainers will be from the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) and those from the Department of Health may be Medical Officer and Counselor. They will train three trainers per block, at the district level, who can be Block Medical Officer, R B S K doctor and Block Resource Cent re (B R C) Coordinators. The block level trainers will train two teachers per school (Health and Wellness Ambassadors) at block level. All these trainings will be for five days’ duration with 30 participants per batch. The block trainers will also conduct a two-day orientation, for all the school principals of their respective block.
School Health Promotion Activities
The health promotion activities will be given a special focus. Age appropriate health education for the students will be taken up to influence behavior and enhance skills. The framework developed pays special attention to physical, psycho-social and mental aspects based on the developmental stages of the child. The broad components are:
Rashtriya Baal Swarthy Karyakram (R B S K) is an important initiative aiming at early identification and early intervention for children from birth to 18 years to cover 4 ‘D’s viz. Defects at birth, Deficiencies, Diseases, Development delays including disability. The 0-6 years’ age group will be specifically managed at District Early Intervention Center (DEICE) level while for 6-18 years’ age group, management of conditions will be done through existing public health facilities. DEICE will act as referral linkage for both the age groups. Once the child is screened and referred from school, it would be ensured that the necessary treatment / intervention is delivered at zero cost to the family.
Electronic Health Records
It is envisaged to develop an electronic health record for each student. Student Health Card will include health screening and service access data for each student. Under the R B S K, the screening and referral records of all the school children will be digitized. The relevant information related to school health activities/ will be added to existing electronic records maintained under R B S K.
Upgrading Skills in Emergency Care
A child spends a considerable part of the day in school, which makes it the responsibility of the school to ensure the safety of all children in every possible way during their stay at school. Thus students and teachers should know the basics of first aid and should be able to respond to emergencies. There should be a first aid box available in each school. The teachers and students will be made aware of the various services available to attend to emergencies like the ambulance, fire brigade, police, closest health facility etc. Sessions on basic first aid will be taken up and linkages with local disaster response teams will be made, to build the capacity of school teachers and children to respond to emergencies.
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A National level coordination committee under the co-chairmanship of Mohawk and M H R D is responsible for policy formulation, technical support, planning of the program me establishing monitoring systems and reviewing progress on program me preparedness.
At the State level, Coordination Committee will be constituted under the co-chairperson-ship of Principal Secretary (s) Health and Education with Secretaries of Women and Child Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Panchayati Raj and other relevant department as members.
A District Level Coordination Committee should be led by District Magistrate with Civil Surgeons/Cm-hos, District Education officer, District Institute of Education & Training officer, District I C D S program me Manager, and representatives from other departments and development partners as members if so desired.
At Block Level, Coordination Committee be constituted under the chairperson-ship of Sub-Divisional Magistrate (S D M) with B M O, Block Education Officer, Block Development Officer (B D O), selected principals and representatives from other relevant departments as members.