AHMEDABAD: Gujarat, which has been witnessing a shortage of specialist doctors, especially in rural areas, has come up with a unique concept — ‘Bal doctors (kid doctors)’ will now look after children’s wellness under the state’s School Health programme.
Health department officials said a ‘bal doctor’ named Kajal Bhupatbhai Khant (11), a class 6 student at a government school in Navagam village of Arvalli district, has been nominated for the pilot project aimed at primary schools. The ‘bal doctors’ will be equipped with stethoscopes as well as ayurvedic medicines to be given to their classmates.
They will be given a stock of ayurvedic medicines to deal with any health-related issue, said officials. An order of the health department to primary schools reads: “One ‘bal doctor’ will be appointed in each primary school for which the state education department and the health department will function jointly.”
“These bal doctors will administer ayurvedic treatment in cases of minor diseases. They will encourage other students to wash their hands before the midday meal. They will also monitor the Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) Programme (of the National Health Mission), held every Wednesday. They will work to make their fellow students addiction-free and give primary information about seasonal diseases,” reads the order.
Each ‘bal doctor’ will be given an apron and a badge to “look like a doctor”. “He will be additionally given a torch, an ayurvedic medicine kit, booklets and posters on health-related problems,” said a health official.
They will receive training. A nodal teacher will be appointed by the health and education departments to monitor their activities. “In every school, we are trying to introduce the concept so that we can orient young people. Kids identified as ‘bal doctors’ could become doctors tomorrow,” Dr Jayanti Ravi, state health commissioner, told TOI.
The Gujarat chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), however, did not like the idea. “Though I am not aware of the initiative, I can definitely say that this must not happen,” said Dr Yogendra Modi, president of IMA’s state branch, “We only believe in allopathic medicines and a person must be considered a doctor only after they’ve done MBBS.”
Source : timesofindia