New Delhi, Sept 24 (IBNS) Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said education is one of the key determinants of health.
"It raises awareness about environment, health and hygiene issues and encourages children to act in their interest to become responsible adults of tomorrow," said Azad.
Addressing the National Consultation on School Health Programme, Azad said that the School Health Programme, under the aegis of National Rural Health Mission, addresses the need to protect and promote the health of human capital from the beginning.
"It is universally known that healthy students are more receptive to education, which naturally, influences their scholastic attainment," he said.
He said that 15 states have already positioned dedicated teams for School Health Programme implementation in 2012-13.
"Rest of the States has opted to implement the programme through the existing public health structures. Once the dedicated teams are optimally operational, we intend to include pre-school children through Anganwadi centres under ´School Health Programme Plus´, said Azad.
The minister said that there is a need to strengthen existing convergence and exploring future linkages.
"The Adolescent health programme and its various components - School Health programme, Menstrual Hygiene Scheme, Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation and ARHS are operating in this direction.
"This inclusive planning for adolescents and convergence of operational strategies between the Health & Education programmes aimed at promoting better health-seeking behaviour of adolescents would be a key determinant of improving India's overall health scenario including mortality, morbidity and population stabilisation," he said.
Azad said this programme would benefit approximately 13 crore adolescents - girls and boys in school and out of school girls.
"Another important priority area is the Scheme for Promotion of Menstrual Hygiene, which has been introduced for improving menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in the age groups of 10-19 years in rural areas," he said.
The pilot scheme is already being implemented in 152 districts across 20 states in the country.
"The aim is to increase awareness about, access to and use of sanitary napkins among rural adolescent girls. It also entails safe and environment friendly disposal of sanitary napkins," said Azad.
Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal also addressed the National Consultation.