A group of paediatricians, comprising of members from all over the state, has launched a pilot project – Ujwal Bhavitavya School Health Services in Baramati. Under this project, each schoolchild will be screened for various health-related factors such as body mass index, respiratory rate, blood pressure, nutrition, vision, hearing and oral health by a trained healthcare worker.
Moreover, immediate medical advice will be offered to them. This project aims at performing the developmental, behavioural, psychosocial, educational and physical assessment of the students. The immunisation status of the students will also be assessed under this project.
The concept for launching such a project was proposed by Baramati-based paediatrician and a renowned social worker Dr Anil Mokashi.
“There is lack of scientific knowledge about health in our society. Even parents are not aware of the basic scientific facts. So I realised that if we tap young minds and make them aware it will be easier to spread scientific knowledge. So I came up with this idea. After implementing it through our organisation Bal Kalyan Kendra in Baramati we will take it to other villages,” said Dr Anil Mokashi
In the first phase of the project, as many as 50 healthcare workers are being trained who will eventually cater to the healthcare needs of the children in schools. These workers will screen the children and also will offer counselling to the children and their parents whenever necessary. These trained workers will be working in various schools of Baramati tehsil in Pune district. The first phase will be implemented in Baramati as a pilot project.
One of the characteristics of this project is that paediatricians from the remotest areas of the state such as Mahad, Miraj, and Vaijapur, have come together to improve the health of school children. They gradually want to take this project forward and contribute constructively in the rural healthcare system. In order to create trained manpower to provide school healthcare services, a six-month certificate course will be launched followed by a two-year fellowship programme.
Dr Amol Annadate, a Paediatrician based in Vaijapur (Aurangabad district in Maharashtra), is a member of the group which started the project, he said, “We always say that children are our future, but the health of our future is being ignored. Bhore committee, which was set up in 1943 to assess health condition of India, submitted its report in 1946 and had made a recommendation that there should be a medical expert in every school. Since then, we have not been able to implement this. Through Ujwal Bhavitavya project, we have taken a step closer to this goal. If we want to have a bright future as a nation, we need to take care of our children.”
A Mahad-based Paediatrician, Dr Chandrasekhar Dabhadkar is also associated with this project. He explained about the relevance of the project in rural Maharashtra. “In case of any emergency, children in the urban area have access to paediatricians and the experts. This is not the case in rural Maharashtra. This project will help to provide medical assistance in such areas,” he said. He also emphasised on the sensitisation of parents and teachers towards emotional needs of the children.