School Health Programme (SHP) under Ayushman Bharat, a joint collaborative programme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resource & Development, Department of School Education & Literacy, crossed a significant milestone with release of the curriculum framework for “Health and Wellness Ambassadors” initiative under the programme by the two ministers jointly on Feb 12.
Now teachers will also act as “Health and Wellness Ambassadors” and disseminate key wellness information by organising culturally sensitive activity based sessions for one hour per week for 24 weeks in a year to promote joyful learning after curriculum for School Health Ambassador Initiative under Ayushman Bharat was released in New Delhi on Feb 12. The first phase of implementation will be in all the public upper primary, secondary and senior secondary schools of aspirational districts. Subsequently, remaining districts will be taken up in the second year.
Union Health minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that the efforts put in by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for developing 24-hour curriculum, training materials for training of nodal teachers, facilitators guide were developed in consultation with MoHFW. Growing up healthy, emotional wellbeing and mental health, interpersonal relationships, values and responsible citizenship, gender equality, nutrition, health and sanitation, promotion of healthy lifestyles, prevention and management of substance misuse, reproductive health and HIV prevention, safety and security against violence and injuries, and promotion of safe use of internet, media and social media are the 11 identified themes.
In this new initiative, health promotion and prevention activities program has been added in addition to ongoing health screening program through Rasthriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) teams and provision of services (IFA, Albendazole and sanitary napkins). While health screening and provision of services are ongoing activities, the newly added health promotion and prevention component will be implemented by two teachers identified in every school as “Health and Wellness Ambassador”. These ambassadors will be supported by class monitors as “Health and Wellness Messengers”, Dr. Harsh Vardhan elaborated.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also stated that a National Resource Group (NRG) of 40 members has already been constituted by NCERT who have sound training skills and experience in Adolescent Health. The NRG will train the State Resource Group which will comprise of 2 persons each from SCERT, SIHFW and DIET from each selected district at the 5 Regional Institute of Education (RIE) at Shillong, Mysore, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar and Ajmer.
Ramesh Pokhriyal, HRD minister hoped that this initiative will help students to show good academic performance of the students as well keep them healthy and enhance skills/counter issues which they may come across throughout their life.
Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare; Dr. Rajiv Garg, DGHS; Shri H Senapathy, Director NCERT; along with officials of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Human Resource Development and representatives from the developmental partners such as Jhepeigo, UNFPA, USAID, UNICEF and WHO were also present during the inauguration ceremony.
It may be mentioned that SHP was launched on April 14, 2018 by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh.