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Medical concerns hound capital schools

Are schools equipped to handle medical emergencies? Do they keep the medical records of students with special health problems? Do parents communicate their children’s health issues to schools? These are the questions being asked a day after 17-year-old Akkriti Bhatia died on her way from school to the nearest hospital after suffering an acute asthma attack. Swaha Sahoo reports.
By Swaha Sahoo | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 23, 2009 12:45 AM IST

Are schools equipped to handle medical emergencies? Do they keep the medical records of students with special health problems? Do parents communicate their children’s health issues to schools?

These are the questions being asked a day after 17-year-old Akkriti Bhatia died on her way from school to the nearest hospital after suffering an acute asthma attack. While the school claimed to have done its best, parents blamed the school of negligence.

Most public schools in Delhi claim they have sufficient provisions in place to handle medical emergencies. “We have the services of a full-time nurse available in our schools and a doctor is on call for any emergencies. Even if we feel a student is faking pain we ask teachers to not take any chances,” said Bharti Sharma, the principal of Amity International School, Saket.

Most schools have tied up with local hospitals. At Springdales School, Pusa Road, Ganga Ram Hospital is the contact point. NC Jindal Public School, Punjabi Bagh has Agrasen Hospital within two kilometers.

But not all schools are proactive.

“It is compulsory for all schools to have a qualified full-time nurse. They should also keep important contact numbers, medical history and basic first aid,” said S.L. Jain, chairperson of National Progressive Schools’ Conference, an association of 100 public schools. Neither do the parents volunteer medical information of their children nor do the schools ask for it, Jain said.

Govt schools worse off

In comparison, a majority of MCD and Delhi government schools lack even the basic health and first aid facilities.

“We have an annual check up of all students and we have maintain a first aid box. But MCD schools do not have nurses or tie-ups with doctors for medical emergencies,” said MY Usmani, General Secretary, Teachers Welfare Organisation.

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