In order to improve the overall quality of life of children and provide comprehensive care to all the children in the community including school children, the Punjab government was all set to strengthen the ongoing health screening of all the children below the age of 18 years.Disclosing this here today the Health Minister Punjab Mr. Surjeet Kumar Jayani said that screening of children from birth to 18 years of age for four Ds - Defects at birth, Diseases, Deficiencies and Development delays including disabilities have been covered under RBSK. Children diagnosed with identified health conditions would receive follow-up care including early intervention services at the district level including surgeries at tertiary level, free of cost under National Health Mission.
Expressing concern over the expensive health care facilities being provided by the Private health care institutions, Mr. Jayani said that it was unfortunate due to lack of awareness such schemes launched by the Punjab government go unnoticed and children are deprived of free of cost quality health treatment being offered by the government. The Minister has also asked the district health officers to coordinate with the school authorities before visiting the schools. He has asked the Anganwari workers as well as health officers to ensure availability of free Health treatment forms in schools and anganwari centres. Besides this he has asked the schools and anganwari centres to advertise this scheme at a large scale through banners and pamphlets so that maximum population could derive the benefits.
Giving details about the regular health screening of the students under RBSK in Government and Government aided schools,children enrolled in Anganwari centres (AWC's) has been regularly done by Health Teams. All the 19971 Government and Government aided Schools in Punjab, Comprising of 2705914 Students and 26179 Anganwadi Centers comprising of 1542492students have been covered under this scheme so far. The team comprising of Medical Officers, dentists, ophthalmic officers, Psychologists testing the IQ levels of the children have been deputed by the government to make sure that the children get regular health check ups. Tool kits have been provided to all health teams for health screening. All schools are visited once in a year andAnganwadi centers are visited twice a year.He also said that as many as 3456 children having congenital heart disease and rheumatic heart disease have been referred to PGI Chandigarh and other tertiary hospitals for treatment and 2129 children have been operated since the start of programme in2008. For treatment of Thalassaemia 294 cases have been referred for treatment at various Thalassemic societies in Punjab since the start of the programme upto December, 2015, said Mr. Jayani.
Adding further the minister said that all new born in public health facilities are screened for births defect by medical staff and new born at home are screened by ASHA who have been sensitized for births defects. He also said that screening of children enrolled in Anganwadi Centers (AWC’s) is done according to Micro-plan prepared at blocks & districts. As many as 258 teams are working in Punjab and 328 AMO, 183 Pharmacist & 229 staff nurses have been recruited and are trained under this scheme. All referred AWC's children & school going students are given free treatment in all CHC, SDH& DH for 30 diseases. Children who require tertiary level care are referred to Government. Medical College, Amritsar, Faridkot & Patiala as per their convenience and If they require further referral for specialized care they are referred to PGI, Chandigarh.To reduce the waiting period and to provide timely treatment /surgery for heart diseases, Fortis Hospital, Max Super Speciality Hospital Mohali, Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, Christian Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana are also empanelled for heart surgeries. Children suffering from Thalassaemia are treated by seven Thalassaemic societies i.e. Three Govt. Medical College; Amritsar, Faridkot and Patiala, Dayanand Medical College &Christian Medical College Ludhiana, Civil Hospital Jalandhar & PGIMER, Chandigarh, said Mr. Jayani.