While the team will check each health parameter, it will also begin minor treatments at the screening camps and prescribe medicines accordingly.
Karnataka will test various health parameters of the state’s over-1.5 crore children ahead of a likely third Covid-19 wave. Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai would launch the Arogya Nandana initiative within a week.
With over 1.5 crore children being tested, it would help them identify those with co-morbidities and low immunity. The state will boost their immunity with nutritious food and supplements and constantly monitor their health, Sudhakar said.
How the children will be screened
As Anganwadis are closed, the government has devised a micro plan including Anganwadi teachers and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers. They have collated data on children up to 18 years in each village. The medical officer of the primary health centre concerned, along with a mobile team of the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), will then decide on a venue and date for each village for the screening activity.
How the children or parents will be informed
Once the date and venue are finalised, government officials will disseminate the information through danguras, public announcements, and loudspeakers at religious places.
The health parameters to be recorded
RBSK Deputy Director Dr. Veena V said the screening would cover defected birth, diseases, deficiencies, and deformity or developmental delay.
The information will make the government aware of certain deficiencies among children, such as Severe Acute Malnutrition and Moderate Acute Malnutrition. Those with immunocompromised and immunodeficient conditions will be classified to keep a track of children with comorbidities. This will then be used for monitoring of their health, especially once the third Covid-19 wave peaks, Dr. Veena said.
The plan of action
The government will form a Team on Wheels of two doctors, an ophthalmologist, a pharmacist, an assistant for eye screening, a PHC medical officer, an MBBS doctoral on rural internship, a postgraduate paediatrician, and a staff nurse for the village/ward level.
While the team will check each health parameter, it will also begin minor treatments at the screening camps and prescribe medicines accordingly. Parents of the children with comorbidities would also be vaccinated on a priority basis.
The Department of Women & Child Development will distribute nutrition supplements to those in need. Dr Veena said Nagu Magu ambulances, usually used to drop back postnatal mothers and newborns from health facilities, would be used for children who are referred to a higher facility. On the other hand, the district administration will arrange transportation if more children need to be moved to another centre.
Covid tests for all children?
Only symptomatic children will undergo Covid-19 tests through Rapid Antigen Testing or RT-PCR. In case a child is prone to diabetes or similar conditions, blood glucose levels will be tested.
The government wants to prepare a health database of children through Arogya Nandana. While the tests amid Covid-19 will encourage parents of children with comorbidities to move their wards to health facilities in case of any suspected infections, others will be made aware about vaccination and keeping a watch on the child’s health at home.
Dr. Veena said district and health administrations will use the information to raise indents to ensure hassle-free medicine distribution. This would hasten the response process in case of a third Covid-19 wave.