Physical, mental health clinics at 15 Delhi govt schools to open on Oct 1
Come October 1, the Delhi government will launch the pilot project of school health clinics in 15 state government schools across the city, which will offer physical and mental health services to its children.
The public works department is likely to complete installation of furniture and fixtures, along with electricity and water connection, in the porta cabins and hand it over to the head of the concerned schools by Wednesday.
According to a circular issued by the deputy director of education (DDE) of school branch last week, “The departments of Health and Education are coming together to synergise and expand their horizons to provide Physical and Mental health services to children through School Health Clinics in Government Schools of Delhi, GNCTD. The Pilot Project of School Health Clinic in 15 proposed Delhi government schools as per the list…will start on October 01, 2021.”
The clinics will have a doctor, a nurse, a psychologist, and a public health specialist and will be operational during the school hours. Along with providing routine check-ups, the clinics will also focus on the emotional well-being of children, address issues related to their mental health,and offer counselling services.
“Often, mental health is not given priority in our country so it will be one of the key focus areas. The health clinic project will mainly function on a preventative system instead of a curable system, wherein we work on the cure once a person falls sick. The idea will be to prevent a disease or illness by monitoring the health of children. Several schools in the United States of America or countries in the European Union have school health clinics. We have studied those models before launching the same here,” said an official working on the project, requesting anonymity.
The official also explained that a health screening for all children would be conducted as soon as the clinics are set up. “The health screening would comprise different kinds of tests, such as blood tests, heart rate, eyesight, throat issues, among other things. Eventually, we are aiming to have a students’ health card, which will have all this information in a collated format, that will be helpful in the long run,” he said.
A senior education department official said, “We are starting with the pilot project in 15 schools for now. Based on the response and lessons, a decision will be taken on how the plan will be executed in other schools. Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital will act as a resource centre and adolescent mental health collective ‘Children First’ will be collaborating with us on this and work with our psychologists. The clinic will be open for all students of the school and conduct health screenings and referral system, to begin with.”
Of the 15 government schools where the proposed clinics are expected to start next month, six are in north district, five in south-west district, two in south east district, one in west and northeast districts each.
Principals across these schools said they are awaiting instructions from the education department on the role of schools in the project. Harish Kumar, principal of RPVV, B-block, Yamuna Vihar, which is among the 15 selected schools, said, “The health clinics have been set up. We are waiting for directions from the education department on how it would be operate. We will speak to parents and other stakeholders only after getting instructions from the department .”
Burari resident Siya Sharan, a school management committee (SMC) member of RPVV Raj Niwas Marg, which is also among the pilot schools, said they have heard about the school health clinics but there was no meeting on it with SMC members so far.
“If a clinic like this is established, it will help students from economically weaker sections. These children face issues in accessing health facilities and the clinic will serve as a one-stop centre for all health-related information and services. Besides, families won’t have to think on where to take their children if they fall sick as they can easily approach the school first,” said Sharan.