Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Union Human Resource Development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “ Nishank” released a curriculum for School Health Ambassador Initiative as part of the Ayushman Bharat in the capital to foster the development of health consciousness among schools.
It is evident throughout the globe that healthy students do better academically and national governments have strived tirelessly to promote healthy living among children.
Successive governments have formulated the necessary policies in order to keep up with the dynamic health issues that children face. The need of the hour was to come up with a scheme that can promote healthy living as an essential part of life.
The new School Health Ambassador scheme was launched by the government keeping in mind that the importance of health should be embedded in children so that they don’t need strict supervision to live a healthy life.
“Children form the key to our future and their health is therefore of supreme importance to the growth and development of the country. The School Health Programme under Ayushman Bharat-Health & Wellness Centres shall foster the growth, development and educational achievement of school-going children by promoting their health and well-being”, said Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare during the launch of the scheme.
The scheme was launched in order to enhance the ‘ preventive, promotive & positive health’ that is the core philosophy of the Health & Wellness Centres of Ayushman Bharat scheme.
To connect and expand the overall health policy of the government, the School Health Ambassador scheme will be linked to other health initiatives such as the Fit India movement, Eat Right campaign, Poshan Abhiyaan for an all-round and holistic development model of health for the school children, etc.
National Council of Educational Research and Traning (NCERT) steered the development of a 24- hour curriculum along with the training material for teachers and facilitators guide in consultation with the MoHFW.
The 11 themes considered to be important for the initiative and included in the training curriculum are Growing up healthy, emotional well being 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.
The promotion of healthy living and active prevention activities were an add on to the ongoing health screening initiative under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK). The responsibility to implement and sustain these two initiatives has been given to two teachers in each school who will be recognized as “Health and Wellness Ambassador”.
The “ Health and Wellness Ambassadors” will be assisted by class monitors designated as “Health and Wellness Messengers”.
The Ambassadors will be trained by a 40 member team called ‘ National resource group’ that is constituted by the NCERT. The training will be held at 5 Regional Institute of Education(RIE) at Bhopal, Shillong, Mysore, Bhubaneshwar, and Ajmer taking two ambassadors each from SCERT, SIHFW, and DIET.
In the words of Sh. Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” the teachers are the best mentors for the children and now they will also act as “Health and Wellness Ambassadors” and will disseminate various key information by organizing culturally sensitive activity-based sessions for one hour per week for 24 weeks in a year to promote joyful learning.
The implementation of the scheme in the first phase will be restricted to certain districts and will subsequently cover the remaining districts. Upper primary, secondary and senior secondary schools will be covered in the scheme.
The scheme will ensure that the future generation coming out of public-funded schools is health-conscious and does not give away to practices that can have an adverse effect on their health.
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