The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kid health kit for teachers

Teachers of all state-aided primary schools will soon take lessons on child healthcare, as part of a first-ever initiative taken by the government. A chain of training camps will be organised from this month, where doctors will teach primary schoolteachers how to monitor the general health of their students.

The move follows a government decision which makes it mandatory for all 53,000 state-aided primary schools in the city and across the state to keep a regular check on the health of their students.

To start with, a batch of 10 teachers from each of the 20 districts will be shortlisted. Some more will be inducted later. The trained teachers will then pass the lessons on to their colleagues in their respective institutions.

The teachers will pick up tips on how to detect some common ailments in children — specially among those from backward families — like poor vision, underweight, ear infection, nasal disorders and skin diseases.

“The scheme was initially started with occasional health camps in schools, where doctors examined the children. Later, we realised that in order to effectively monitor their health, the children need to be examined everyday,” said Jyoti Prokash Ghosh, president, West Bengal Board of Primary Education.

The government’s decision to introduce healthcare as a compulsory programme in primary schools was taken as part of a nationwide central government project. The Centre has already sanctioned Rs 4 crore to the Bengal government for the purpose.

According to Ghosh, it was not possible for the government to engage doctors for all the 53,000 schools to examine the children every day. “We realised the teachers were the best persons to do the day-to-day monitoring. This prompted us to organise camps for teachers, where they could learn the needful from doctors,” said Ghosh.

All the primary schools will have to make the health check a routine affair, for which a separate slot will be kept. The daily findings will be jotted down in a register.

Government officials said doctors working in the community health section of the state health department would go through the reports at regular intervals, in the presence of the guardians. The doctors will then advise the guardians of the treatment required if a child is found suffering from some disease.

This apart, the schools will be provided with medical kits containing first-aid boxes, some common medicines like vitamins and iron tablets, and instruments like weighing machines, said health department officials.

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