HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” and Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan recently released curriculum for School Health Ambassador Initiative under Ayushman Bharat in New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, Pokhriyal said that the goal of education is not only to increase the knowledge, but also to inculcate behaviour which promotes consciousness about good health. He said that teachers are the best mentors for children, who would now also act as “Health and Wellness Ambassadors” and disseminate various key information by organising culturally sensitive activity based sessions for one hour per week for 24 weeks in a year to promote joyful learning. The first phase of implementation would be in all public upper primary, secondary and senior secondary schools of aspirational districts. Subsequently, remaining districts would be taken up in the second year.
School Health Programme (SHP) under Ayushman Bharat is a joint collaborative programme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resource & Development, Department of School Education & Literacy. The initiative targets both education and health implementers and is envisaged to facilitate an integrated approach to health programming and more effective learning at the school level. Ministry of Human Resource & Development and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) along with NCERT has developed curriculum framework and training material for training of nodal teachers, in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG- 3). 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.
The minister hoped that this initiative will help students to show good academic performance as well as keep them healthy and enhance skills/counter issues which they may come across throughout their life.
In this new initiative, health promotion and prevention activities programme has been added in addition to ongoing health screening programme 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 would train the state resource group which would comprise two persons each from SCERT, SIHFW and DIET from each selected district at the five Regional Institute of Education (RIE) at Shillong, Mysore, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar and Ajmer.