217 Children with C.H.D. operated free of cost under RBSK: Balbir Sidhu
Due to Corona crisis all school and AWCs were closed Since March, 2020 to March, 2021 whereas during this period 217 children with congenital heart disease were surgically treated and 18 children with P.I.D.D. (Primary Immuno Deficiency Disease) were provided free treatment under Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK).
Disclosing this here today, the Health Minister Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu said that all 258 RBSK Mobile Health Teams were deputed in Covid-19 duties as schools and AWCs closed in wake of pandemic. He said that besides performing COVID duty, RBSK teams have been working tirelessly to protect and promote a healthy childhood for all the children in Punjab under which emergency health services were provided to the school children.
He said that RBSK is an important initiative aiming at early identification and early intervention for children from birth to 18 years to cover 4 ‘D’s viz. Defects at birth, Deficiencies, Childhood Diseases, Development delays including disability. This program seeks to put together a systematic approach to child health screening and early intervention.
Mr. Sidhu pointed out that the early years of a child’s life are most critical for both survival and development and this program is an approach to screen children, identify health conditions warranting medical attention and ensure early intervention.
Director Health Services (Family Welfare) Dr. Andesh Kang underlining the importance of RBSK stated that as per the Government of India’s estimates there are cases of birth defects, deficiencies, diseases specific to childhood and developmental disorders including disabilities in India and it is necessary to pay attention to their early detection and intervention. As per GoI’s estimates, 6% of children are born with birth defects, 10% of children are affected with development delays leading to disabilities. Further, 4% of under-five mortality and 10% of neonatal mortality is attributed to birth defects. She said that dividends of early intervention are huge including improvement of survival outcome, reduction of malnutrition prevalence, enhancement of cognitive development and educational attainment and overall improvement of quality of life of our citizens.
State Program Officer (RBSK) Dr. Sukhdeep Kaur informed that this program covers over 3.7 million children in Punjab from 0-18 years of age. Screening of the new-born, both at public health facilities and at home, is an important component of the strategy. Regular health screening of pre-school children up to 6 years of age using 26,966 Anganwadis is conducted twice a year and children from 6 to 18 years of age studying in 19,671 Government and Government aided schools also receive health check-up once a year.
She said that all those children who are diagnosed for any of the 33 illnesses receive follow-up referral support and treatment including surgical interventions at tertiary level institutions such as PGI Chandigarh, CMC, DMC, Fortis Hospital, Mohali and three Govt. Medical Colleges i.e. Amritsar, Faridkot & Patiala for free treatment.