Sonia Gandhi launches universal child health screening service in Palghar
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Listing out the achievement of polio eradication from the country, she said, "Some time ago over two lakh children fell victims to polio. Now India is polio-free. I feel it is a very big achievement, whose beginning was made by Rajivji."
She also listed out the Right to Education Act and the mid-day meal scheme aimed at helping children attain free education and feed them properly while in school.
Gandhi said the government had distributed Rs 90,000 crores to states under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in the last seven years for the welfare of the masses in the rural and remote areas of the country.
The current programme is also being launched under the NRHM scheme of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The initiative is aimed at improving overall quality of life of children through early detection of birth defects, diseases and deficiencies, which are among key factors for child mortality and out of pocket expenditure for poor families, as well as development delays including disability.
Under the programme, a set of 30 common conditions have been identified for screening and further management of child health.
These services are built on the existing school health services and will be provided through dedicated mobile health teams placed in every block who will comprise of four health personnel including two AYUSH doctors, an ANM and a pharmacist.
The teams will carry out screening of all the children in the age group 0-6 years enrolled at Anganwadi centres at least twice a year besides screening of all children enrolled in the government and government-aided schools.
Birth defects account for 9.6 per cent of all new-born deaths and 4 per cent of under five mortality.
According to the 2006 March of Dimes Global Report on Birth Defects, out of every 100 babies born in this country every year, 6 to 7 have a birth defect. In Indian context, this would translate to 17 lakhs birth defects annually.
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