The National Medical Commission (NMC) has directed medical and nursing students across states and Union Territories (UT) to conduct regular health check-ups of school children in their respective areas.

The NMC has issued a directive in this regard to additional chief secretaries (ACS), principal secretaries of all states and UTs in the country on 16 July.

The commission was prompted to issue the directive after the education ministry requested the Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan to depute medical interns, post-graduate doctors and nursing students for health check-ups of school children in the country.

On 27 June, Anita Karwal, secretary of the department of school education and literacy under the education ministry, wrote a letter to Bhushan saying, “Prime Minister Office (PMO) has reviewed the ‘education and skill development’ on 07.05.2022 and 13.05.22 and one of the points has been noticed in respect of D/O School Education & Literacy’ under heading ‘Implementation of National Education Policy’ is ‘Regular health Check-ups and screening for children in school should be carried out. Technology would be leveraged for the purpose’. Students medical and nursing colleges can be associated for this purpose”.

It has been decided that students of medical and nursing colleges can be associated to ensure health check-ups in schools because they are ‘good technical resource’, the letter stated.

“You are, therefore, requested to instruct the concerned officers to take necessary action to associate the medical and nursing students in the matter suggested by the PMO,” Mrs Karwal stated in her letter.

The education ministry has also proposed the Union health and family welfare ministry to develop an app so that it could help in developing the age-wise parameters for health and fitness screening of school children.

As per the existing system, cooked meals are provided to 11.80 crore school children on every working day under the PM POSHAN scheme in the country. The Union health ministry conducts health check-ups of these children giving deworming medicines under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) in the country.

Different studies revealed that malnutrition level among primary school children in several districts of north and south Bengal is very high. The high prevalence of malnutrition among school children in these districts like Purulia, Jalpaiguri, Malda, Murshidabad etc should be taken into account through regular health screening programmes by the government, the studies felt.

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