Sonia to launch healthcare scheme in Maharashtra

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 05, 2013 12:20 hrs

Mumbai, Feb 5 (IANS) A new nationwide child healthcare initiative for providing health services to children up to 18 years of age will be launched in Maharashtra Wednesday by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, an official said.

The Congress chief will launch Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (national child health programme) in Palghar town of Thane district, an official statement said Tuesday.

The programme is expected to benefit about 270 million (27 crore) children across the country when fully implemented.

"The new initiative would assure a package of health services for all children up to 18 years of age. The programme... will be extended to cover all districts of the country in a phased manner," it said.

It is a part of the National Rural Health Mission and aims to provide comprehensive health care for all children.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan will also be present at the launch function along with the United Progressive Alliance chairperson.

A set of 30 common ailments health conditions have been identified for screening and early intervention for this initiative.

These include birth defects like congenital cataract, deafness and heart defect, deficiency conditions like anaemia, malnutrition and goitre, developmental delays and disabilities like hearing impairment among others.

The services will be provided through dedicated mobile health teams, comprising two doctors (one male and one female), nurse and a pharmacist, located in every block.

The teams will carry out screening of all the children up to the age of six years and enrolled at anganwadi centres at least twice a year. It will also screen all children enrolled in government and government-aided schools.

The newborns will also be screened for birth defects in health facilities where deliveries take place. Children will be screened for disease, deficiencies and disabilities and referred to higher centres for further investigations and treatment as per requirement.

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