Minister of State for Health, Shabir Ahmad Khan today said that the new healthcare initiative “Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram” would be launched in the State this month.He said the initiative envisages comprehensive healthcare programme for children aimed at to improve their health life through early detection of birth defects, diseases, deficiencies, development delays and disability.Speaking at the inaugural function of 5 day training programme for mobile health teams and DEIC staff organized by J&K National Rural Health Society here today, Mr. Shabir said, “RBSK is an opportunity to providesuccor to preschool and school-age children who suffer from a variety of conditions which can be addressed through a systematic public health approach”.He said “RBSK is a comprehensive approach to identify children with certain ailments and deficiencies with the help of mobile teams followed by management through the District Early Intervention Centers and further referral to other higher centers, where specific treatment and rehabilitation facilities are available.”
The training programme was attended by newly engaged ISM doctors, ANMs and Pharmacists of Bandipora, Budgam and Anantnag, who utilized the opportunity to not only understand the tools and the guidelines of the programme, but also to exchange best practices. Experts on childhood development and rehabilitation from various Institutes and Organizations working on birth defects also participated and contributed to the deliberations.Mission Director, J&K Health Society, Dr. Yash Pal Sharma, Director Health Services, Kashmir, Dr. Saleem-ur Rehman, Nodal Officer, RBSK, Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad was among other senior officers present on the occasion.
The Minister said the State Government with the liberal financial assistance from central Government is committed to achieve the objective of “Health for All” through accessible, affordable and equitable healthcare services. He said this new initiative of Child Health Screening and Early Intervention Service to provide comprehensive care to all children would be launched in all the districts of the State. Giving details of the scheme, the minister said that a set of thirty common conditions have been identified for screening and further management. These services are built on the existing school health services and these services will be provided through dedicated mobile health teams placed in every block, he added and said the block level dedicated mobile medical health teams would comprise of four health personnel viz. two AYUSH doctors (One Male, One Female), ANM/ SN and a Pharmacist.
Shabir said the teams will carry out screening of all the children in the age group 0 – 6 years enrolled at Anganwadi centers at least twice a year besides screening of all children enrolled in Government and Government aided schools. He said that the newborns will also be screened for birth defects right at the health facilities where deliveries take place and during the home visit by ASHA. The Minister said the initial three years of a child’s life are most critical from the point of view of physical and cognitive development. He said regular health screening and early intervention can yield rich pidends adding that several children are born with defects, which contribute in neonatal mortality.“Many children suffer from developmental delays, diseases and deficiencies specific to childhood which, if unattended, become severely debilitating and a source of suffering for the entire family”, he said and added with the launch of the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram, regular health screening of children in public health facilities, Aanganwadi and Government and Government aided schools for defects at birth, diseases, deficiencies and development disorders will be done now. He said this programme will cover about 45 lakh children all over the State in a phased manner and provide free follow up management and treatment at the primary, district hospitals and at tertiary levels. He hoped that Continuum of care extending over different phases of the life over the first 18 years would improve the quality of life of children in the State.Director, NRHM and Director Health Services, Kashmir also spoke on the occasion and threw detailed light on benefits of RBSK. They also enumerated the achievements registered under NRHM for upgradation of quality healthcare facilities in the rural and hilly areas so far.