A pilot project taken up by the Rajasthan government aims at teaching school students clean habits and recording their general health status

The tiny non-descriptive Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Adarsh Nagar, Ajmer has been selected as the pilot educational institution by the Rajasthan government to initiate a unique programme of maintaining the general health record of its students.

The programme, which will cover students within the age group of 6-18 years, is in partnership with Global Health Strategies (GHS), an international consulting organisation and was recently inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Sachin Pilot.

Aimed at supporting the State’s school health program for improving all-round physical and mental well-being of school children and adolescents, the project will initially focus on providing technical support in two Rajasthan districts (Ajmer and Jodhpur) and one district in Delhi.

This three-year-long project is being funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

“Efforts aimed at teaching children about ways to be healthy and inculcating good habits at a young age not only encourages robust lifelong habits but also improves their performance at school. Evidence shows that healthy children have higher levels of cognitive functionality and are likely to attend school more regularly and for longer. We welcome the project and hope that we are able to ensure a healthier future for our children,” said Mr. Pilot.

Under the project, GHS will assist the government in identifying and addressing the gaps in the existing program, developing training materials and outlining the guideline for training teachers and health workers and planning and conducting trainings at district and block levels for the school health program.

“Reaching out to over 1,000 schools in the State, GHS hopes to give to the students a comprehensive health programme while working at strengthening the reporting and information system by building capacity, providing on site-support and regular feedback to respective government officials.  The project activities will be arranged and initiated in three phases — assessment, intervention, advocacy and communication. Reaching out to children will also support the implementation of the government’s initiatives like mass de-worming, providing iron and folic acid supplements to prevent anaemia and teaching the children clean habits,” said GHS director and project in-charge Dr. Neeraj Agrawal. “We will also support community outreach activities including mothers’ group meetings at urban ward/village level, while in the rural area we will facilitate regular village health and sanitation committee meetings.”