Punjab government is all set to strengthen the ongoing health screening of all the children below the age of 18 years to provide comprehensive health care to every child in the state.
Under Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), this initiative is aimed 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. First level of screening is done at all delivery points through existing Medical Officers, Staff Nurses and ANMs. After 48 hours till 6 weeks the screening of newborns will be done by ASHA at home as a part of Home Based New-born Care (HBNC) package. Outreach screening will be done by dedicated Mobile Health teams for 6 weeks to 6 years at anganwadis centres and 6-18 years children at school.
Health Department has issued instructions to district health officers to coordinate with the school authorities before visiting the schools. Anganwari workers as well as health officers are also to ensure availability of free Health treatment forms in schools and anganwari centres. Schools and Anganwari centres are asked to advertise this scheme at a large scale through banners and pamphlets so that maximum population can derive the benefits.
All the 27,05,914 Students of 19,971 Government and Government aided Schools in Punjab and 15,42,492 students of 26,179 Anganwadi Centers 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 checkups.
Since the start of programme in 2008, 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. 294 cases have been referred for treatment of Thalassaemia to various Thalassemic societies in Punjab since the start of the programme.
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. 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.
Treatment of Rheumatic Heart Disease/Congenital Heart Disease is expensive but life saving, here are few success stories of children who are given lease of new life under RBSK.
Seeret one year old R/o, Guru Nanak Mohalla, Bassi Pathana, district Fatehgarh Sahib, was born at Rajindra Hospital Patiala. When she was 5 months old, she started having repeated attacks of pneumonia. She was referred for surgery by Health Team during screening at AWC’s to PGIMER, Chandigarh for suspected heart. She was operated upon successfully for a hole in the heart. Now she is cheerful healthy girl achieving all milestones normally.
Sukhmandeep Kaur D/o, Gursevak Singh, one and half year old R/o, Dulladi, Tehsil. Nabha, Distt. Patiala. She was born at home and apparently normal at the time of birth. She started having fever and repeated attacks of pneumonia and was mobilized by ASHA to AWC’s for screening by Health Team. She was further referred to Rajindra Hospital Patiala where she was investigated and diagnosed with a hole in the heart. She was operated upon at Fortis Hospital Mohali on PGIMER rates. Now she is normal healthy child participating in all activities.
Case 3: Jashanpreet Singh S/o, Kewal Singh, 3 year old child, R/o, VPO Lakho Majra, district Patiala. He was born apparently normal in Mata Kaushalaya Maternity Hospital Patiala. At 2 years he started having fever and loss of weight and was found to be anemic. He was referred through AWC’s with the help of ANM for further investigation and was diagnosed to be suffering from Thalassaemia. Now he is under treatment at Thalassaemic Society Medical College and Hospital Patiala. The regular expenditure incurred is taken care of under RBSK and his parents are not burdened with any out of pocket expenditure.
Case 4 :
Kiran D/o, Nayak, was 6 year old student of 1st class in Govt. Elementary school, NTC-1, Tehsil Rajpura, Distt. Patiala. She was checked by Medical Health Team during school health visit and was referred for diagnosis and treatment, where diagnosis of Thalassaemia was confirmed. Now she is under regular treatment for Thalassaemia at Thalassemic society at Medical College & Hospital Patiala and all expenses are being paid by Govt. under RBSK