Shastry V. Mallady

MADURAI: Anti-smoking measures, lifestyle diseases and behavioural counselling will be the thrust areas of the State government’s School Health Programme from the coming academic year.

Health officials in all districts have been asked by the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine to adopt new strategies for good health of school-going children and ensure that they do not fall prey to bad habits.

Health Department sources told The Hindu here that an “in-depth review meeting” of School Health Programme was held on March 17 and 18 in Chennai for Deputy Directors of Health Services where it was decided to revamp the programme.

At the meeting convened by Director of Public Health S. Elango, it was decided to adequately focus on issues such as suicidal tendencies, behavioural pattern, obesity, depression, anti-smoking, drug abuse, nutrition and personal hygiene of girl students.

“These aspects will be in addition to the regular screening and treatment for diseases and minor ailments among schoolchildren. We were told by Directorate officials that schoolchildren should go to college with greater health awareness,” said A. Palanichamy, Deputy Director of Health Services, Madurai district.

Tobacco abuse, anaemia among girls and dangers of TB/cancer would be explained in schools.