Smart Health Cards For School Children

New Delhi: All school children in India, above class V, will be screened for diseases once a year.

Union Health Minister, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss has announced smart cards for health for school children as a part of a new National school health programme.

The health cards will contain the health information and children will be screened by doctors, either from public or private hospitals for free-check up of blindness, deafness, diabetes, dental and cardio vascular health, vitamin deficiencies and anemia. If found any suffering, they will be immeidtely referred for further treatment.

Officials from health ministry and HRD have already held talks with next one scheduled for mid-December.

Union Health minister A Ramadoss said, “A deafness and speech programme will teach doctors, family members and teachers to identify children with hearing and sight problems early, before it becomes damaging. The school health programme will be a public-private partnership. The programme will be started initially in states which show interest in such a screening programme to protect the younger generation.”

The State governments in Mizoram, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are running a similar programme already.

Ramadoss added, “It needs to be a collective programme with states working in unison. Associations like the IMA and Dental Council of India have agreed to help us with the screening. Students would be given personal health cards, which would chart the disease history of the child concerned.”

A health ministry official said, “The success of the initial programme will help seal a total clearance from Planning Commission to the national programme. Under the programme, children will be regularly screened for diseases and risk factors. Anti-hypertensive drugs will cut down on high BP and lifestyle changes will cut down on obesity. WHO calls this programme a vital investment.”

The ministry has asked to sanction Rs 1,680 crore to run the programme from 2008-2012.

Ramadoss said, “The national school health programme is expected to be launched within a year.”