Government on Wednesday launched a School Health Programme under Ayushman Bharat-Health & Wellness Centres that will teach skills ranging from emotional wellbeing, mental health, interpersonal relationships to values and maintaining healthy lifestyle.
“The first phase of implementation will be in all the public upper primary, secondary and senior secondary schools of aspirational districts. Subsequently, remaining districts will be taken up in the second year," said Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Union Minister of Human Resource Development. The program has been jointly rolled out by Ministries of Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
“This initiative will further strengthen the concept of preventive, promotive and positive health, which forms the fundamental cornerstone of the Health & Wellness Centres of Ayushman Bharat scheme," said Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare.
“This initiative will be effectively linked with other government initiatives such as Fit India movement, Eat Right campaign, Poshan Abhiyaan for an all-round and holistic development model of health for the school children etc," he said.
While the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) developed 24-hour curriculum, training materials for training of nodal teachers, facilitators guide were developed in consultation with union health ministry.
Growing up healthy, emotional wellbeing and mental health, interpersonal relationships, values and responsible citizenship, gender equality, nutrition, health and sanitation, promotion of healthy lifestyles, prevention and management of substance misuse, reproductive health and HIV prevention, safety and security against violence and injuries, and promotion of safe use of internet, media and social media are the 11 identified themes.
In this new initiative, health promotion and prevention activities program has been added in addition to ongoing health screening program through Rasthriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) teams and provision of services (IFA, Albendazole and sanitary napkins).
“While health screening and provision of services are ongoing activities, the newly added health promotion and prevention component will be implemented by two teachers identified in every school as “Health and Wellness Ambassador". These ambassadors will be supported by class monitors as “Health and Wellness Messengers", Harsh Vardhan said.
“A National Resource Group (NRG) of 40 members has already been constituted by NCERT who have sound training skills and experience in Adolescent Health. The NRG will train the State Resource Group which will comprise of 2 persons each from SCERT, SIHFW and DIET from each selected district at the 5 Regional Institute of Education (RIE) at Shillong, Mysore, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar and Ajmer," he said.
With the program, the children will also act as “Health and Wellness Ambassadors" and will disseminate key information by organising culturally sensitive activity based sessions for one hour per week for 24 weeks in a year to promote joyful learning.