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Revamped health schemes to focus on kids’ nutrition and mental health

Apr 24,2024

New Delhi: The Centre is planning to revamp key health schemes targeted at children, focusing on improving nutrition as well as strengthening mental health, said people familiar with the matter.

“The idea is to come up with a comprehensive physical and mental development programme for schoolchildren, with a focus on nutrition to minimise cases of anaemia and to strengthen their mental health to reduce increasing incidence of anxiety, depression and suicides,” said a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified.

The government could make changes to the School Health Programme under Ayushman Bharat, the National Mental Health Programme and Anaemia Mukt Bharat as part of this drive or subsume them under a single initiative to strengthen their overall focus, according to people in the know. The health and family welfare ministry, in consultation with the education, women and child development ministry and NITI Aayog, has kick-started discussions on the changes needed in these programmes to address the mental and physical health related challenges being faced by schoolchildren.

“We are firming up the changes to these programmes to make them more effective and will notify them with the approval of the new government,” the official said. The interventions could include targeted preventive and remedial measures in the three schemes to help schoolchildren, with a greater role of the private sector to expand outreach of these programmes.

As per the National Family Health Survey 5 (2019-21), 31.1 per cent adolescent boys (15-19 years), 59.1 per cent adolescent girls and 67.1 per cent children (6-59 months) are anaemic in the country.

Source: Healthworld

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