: The Health Department is ready to launch a district-wide survey of rural children with congenital defects from May 3.

Special teams are being deployed to conduct house-to-house survey in rural areas and prepare a database of children up to 15 years of age who have defects.

After that, these children will be referred to the nearest primary health centre for preliminary intervention after which they would be shifted to the Government Rajaji Hospital here for surgical correction depending on the requirement.

S. Senthilkumar, Deputy Director of Health Services, Madurai district, told The Hindu on Wednesday that the survey of the Directorate of Public Health will be focusing on “visible deformities” such as cleft lip and palate, developmental disorders and bone deformities.

The survey is expected to cover 4.4 lakh children up to 15 years of age in the district and it is estimated that about two per cent of them will be having congenital defects.

“To start with, we are covering only rural areas and this is an exercise being taken up across the State from May 3. The State Government has instructed that the enumerators should go only to houses on Fridays / Saturdays and not to be done in schools,” he said.