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Arogya Nandana to screen 1.5 cr kids for Covid, nutrition, comorbidities

It is a new initiative to test all children for Covid symptoms, low nutrition indicators, immunity and comorbidities in Karnataka
uraksha P
Last Updated : 18 August 2021, 12:09 IST
Last Updated : 18 August 2021, 12:09 IST
Last Updated : 18 August 2021, 12:09 IST
Last Updated : 18 August 2021, 12:09 IST

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With experts cautioning that the Covid third wave is likely to predominantly affect children, the state health department is all set to launch a new child screening programme, Arogya Nandana.

It is a new initiative to test all children for Covid symptoms, low nutrition indicators, immunity and comorbidities in Karnataka. Chief Minister Basvaraj Bommai will launch the programme within a week, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar announced on Tuesday.

"Karnataka has about 1.5 crore children in the 0-18 age group. Under this scheme, all children will undergo health screening. Children with malnutrition, low immunity and other comorbidities will be identified and in coordination with the Women and Child Welfare department, we will ensure children get necessary nutritious food and supplements to boost immunity. All measures will be taken to monitor their health," the minister said.

"The project has been implemented in Haveri and Udupi districts where the CM was a district-in-charge minister earlier. The project will be extended to the whole state in the next one week as the state has all the required infrastructure," he added.

Haveri district launched a similar programme called 'Vatsalya' on June 25 this year and has found 3,369 children with Covid symptoms, of whom 2,350 were tested with rapid antigen tests (RAT). As many as 8,443 children with other diseases were also found. The department visited 1,858 schools and 1,964 anganwadis.

So far, 3,85,734 children have been screened in the district and 1,314 children were found with defects at birth, 3,629 with deficiencies, and 1,218 with developmental delays.

As many as 1,031 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition were also identified. Haveri district reproductive and child health officer (RCHO) Dr M Jayanand told DH, "We had administered RAT tests to children with symptoms, and one child who tested positive has now recovered."

In Udupi district, 1,35,842 school children and 43,502 Anganwadi children have been screened in the past two months. Severe acute malnutrition was seen in 53 children, moderate malnutrition was seen in 108, anaemia in 2,026, vitamin A deficiency in 516 children, vitamin D deficiency was found in 416 children, and 132 were obese.

Severe thinning was observed in 239 children, 36 suffered from goitre caused due to iodine deficiency, and minor ailments were observed in 16,000 others.

Virologist Dr V Ravi, state nodal officer for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 virus and state Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee member said, "All symptomatic children will be subjected to RAT tests and if that is negative, RT-PCR tests will be conducted."

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Published 18 August 2021, 10:41 IST

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