What Is Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK)?
“The children of today will make the India of tomorrow. The way we bring them up will determine the future of the country.“- Jawaharlal Nehru, Former Prime Minister of India
A tree cannot uproot itself whereas humans can. Similarly, animals cannot change their size or shape but we human beings can. We can bring change to our physical body with self-efforts.
Humans can build a future in a way that we want to experience. Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram is one such self-effort that was introduced by the Indian Government.
India’s healthcare system
India is known for its glorious public health tradition from the Indus Valley Civilization with excellent curative care and facilities. As per the resources, we are a country of 1,417,088,890. Therefore, it is quite challenging for the healthcare delivery system.
The current healthcare system of India combines both private and government healthcare services. The Privately run healthcare system serves and regulates the requirement of individuals who can afford it. On the other hand, the government-aided system gives healthcare services at heavy discounts/ free.
But, this system is understaffed and underfunded. Because of this, people who are from unprivileged areas and rural areas are receiving poor treatment. The Indian government established bodies like National Health Mission (NHM) to overcome this situation.
Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram: Background
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India introduced the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram. This scheme is run under the National Health Mission.
Why Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram was introduced?
It does not matter anything unless our children do not have the strength and health to enjoy it. In 2018 alone, 8,75,000 children aged below five died in India from rural communities and poor families. They were from disproportionately affected families.
A wealthy parent can afford to treat these health-related issues. But what about the unprivileged?
Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram is an ambitious and innovative initiative to help such children. Through this systematic approach, it will be easy to identify diseases early and provide treatment, care, and support.
The program includes the screening of children, aged from birth to 18 years for 4Ds. They are:-
- Development delays
- Defects at birth
The Government is giving treatment and support for 32 common health conditions with free treatment. They are not leaving any stone unturned for early detection and free treatment. This also includes surgeries at the tertiary level.
Children who are identified or diagnosed with selected health conditions are given early intervention services through this program. Well, the Good Samaritan does not stop here!! The children get follow-up treatments and care at the district level through Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram. The treatment is free of cost. As a result, provides support for parents against expensive expenditures.
Target Age Group
Children between the age group of 0-6 years will be managed at District Early Intervention Center. The existing public health facilities will manage the conditions for 6-18 years.
The screening at the first level will be managed at the delivery points by ANM, Staff Nurses, and Medical Officers. Post it (After 48 hours- 6 weeks) ASHA will take care of the newborn’s screening. This is part of the HBNC package.
The mobile block team will manage the outreach screening for children (6 weeks- 6 years).
The children who are screened and referred from these identification points will surely be given the necessary intervention and treatment.
Health conditions that can be screened/ treated with Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram
Following health conditions can be screened/ treated with Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram. These are as follows:
By Birth Defects
- Down’s Syndrome
- Retinopathy of Prematurity
- Talipes (Club foot)
- Congenital cataract
- Congenital deafness
- Neural tube defect
- Congenital heart diseases
- Hip’s developmental dysplasia
- Cleft Lip and Palate Alone
- Anaemia especially Severe anaemia
- Deficiency of Vitamin A (Bitot spot)
- Severe Acute Malnutrition
- Vitamin D deficiency (Rickets)
Disease Of Childhood
- Skin conditions (Scabies, Eczema, and fungal infection)
- Otitis Media
- Rheumatic heart disease
- Reactive airway disease
- Dental Issues
- Conclusive disorders
Development Delays and Disabilities
- Vision Impairment
- Language delay
- Neuro-motor Impairment
- Motor delay
- Behaviour disorder (Autism)
- Hearing Impairment
- Cognitive delay
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Sickle cell anaemia, Congenital Hypothyroidism, and Beta thalassemia (optional)
- Learning disorder
What Are The Mechanisms for Screening at the Community & Facility levels?
At Community Level
The screening will be conducted by Mobile health teams at Govt & Government aided schools and Anganwadi Centres.
At Facility Level
Public health facilities such as DH/ CHCc/ PHCs will manage newborn screening facilities. The existing manpower such as ANMs, Staff Nurses, and Medical Officers will manage this.
a. Screening at Anganwadi Centre
Mobile Block Team will screen preschool children (Below 6 yrs) at the Anganwadi centre. They will screen for diseases, deficiencies, and development delays such as disability. This will be managed at the Anganwadi centres.
Screening tools for children aged between 0-6 years are supported by pictorial.
The age-specific tools will be used for children with developmental delays.
Children who are suspected of further management will be referred to DEIC.
b. Screening at Govt. and Govt. Aided Schools
The Mobile Block teams will screen the school children aged between 6-18 years. These children will be analyzed for diseases, development delays, and diseases. This includes checking for adolescent health and disability at the local schools. It will be conducted once a year at least.
Mobile Block Team- Composition that is available for child’s health support
The mobile block team consists of 4 members
- Two Doctors (AYUSH): One male and one female having at least a bachelor’s degree from a certified institute
- One ANM/Nurse
- One pharmacist skilled in handling computers for data management
In a nutshell!!
Yes, this task is humungous. But it is made possible because of the government’s systematic approach that Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram envisages. It is the best strategy that will promote the health and safety of Our children-Our Future.