Responsibilities of RBSK-MHT under School Eye Screening Programme
Government of West Bengal
Health & Family Welfare Department
Swasthya Bhawan, 3rd Floor, Wing-A
GN-29, Sector – V, Salt Lake, Kolkata – 700091
No. 273-Secy(HFW)/2022 Date : 14/10/2022
Subject: Roles and responsibilities of RBSK-MHT under School Eye Screening Programme (SESP)
Refractive errors and other ophthalmic ailments in the children, if remain uncorrected and unmanaged, might hamper their learning abilities as well as overall intelligence. Therefore, Eye/ vision screening for all the school children in 06-18 years age group remains critical element under Chokher Alo. But unfortunately, this activity has remained under-nurtured and less prioritized in recent years. To make matters worse, it is evidenced that pandemic impacted two years of indoor lives, and consequential online classes through smart phones and laptops, the refractive errors and other eye ailments have palpably gone up.
It is pertinent to note that eye screening/ health of school going children between 06-18 years of age (vision impairment screening) features as one of the 30 mandatory activities that are specified for the RBSK (Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram)-MHT (Mobile Health Team) in terms of GoI operational guidelines issued in 2013.
Now, with a view to ensure early diagnosis of ophthalmic ailments and timely referral in the children of age group of 06-18 years as well as to optimize the yield by RBSK personnel, it has been decided that initial eye screening for school going children under Chokher Alo/ NPCBVI, will be conducted by RBSK-MHT in a mission mode approach by adhering to following protocols.
Initial eye screening of all children between 06-18 years of age going to schools
Based on operational feasibility, the pre-screened school children from multiple schools may be checked at a mutually-agreed location like Su-Swasthya Kendra or High schools or any other suitable location for refractive error or eye disease detection by MT (Opto.) to cover more children on a prefixed particular day.
Apart from the MT (Opto.) visiting the schools to check pre/primary screened students, in rural as well as in urban areas, the students may be sent to nearby Vision Centres/ Eye OPDs on non-school days.
RBSK-MHT will train the school teachers/ siksha-bandhu of Sarvashiksha Aviyan and also the senior class school students (Vision Volunteers) on vision impairment issues.
RBSK-MHT will conduct awareness cum counselling session with parents of school going children and their wards on eye health and eye donation issues, once in a quarter. MT (Optometry) will also remain present during such sessions. Sessions for parents may be arranged in GP office or a centrally located govt. establishment, to ensure minimum travel for them.
RBSK MHTs will take assistance/ support during screening from the school-teachers, majority of whom have the basic orientation on vision screening.
This program will always be planned henceforth jointly by Dy. CMOH-III (district nodal officer for RBSK) and Dy. CMOH-II (district nodal officer for Chokher Alo) under overall guidance from CMOH.
A detailed action plan will be drawn by each district authority, within 4th November 2022, for 100% coverage of school children for initial screening, detection, referral and appropriate follow up action in such a manner that all schools in the districts get covered at least once every 06 months with a priority to the chronically left-out ones. While planning, the inputs from the district level authorities of School Education Department should also be taken. One of the MT (Opto) and the MO (Ophth.) should also be involved in the planning process. For the time-bound coverage of the district in each round, the available MHTs will be maximally utilized irrespective of their rural/urban location. CMOHs will facilitate the movements of the MTs to sessions with the essential logistics.
The management of the children identified with congenital cataract or squint or ptosis or further surgical treatment for the eye conditions will be co-ordinated by RBSK MOs and appropriate follow up action will be taken in consultation with concerned BMOH. Referral transport support for the purpose from district to higher facility for children and their parents will be explored under RBSK/ RCH fund.
After the initial eye screening by RBSK personnel, MT(Opto.) will prescribe lens or plan for referral to higher centres for surgery, as per usual practice. Hospital tagging for surgery or co-ordination with spectacle vendors shall be the responsibility of concerned MT(Opto.). Concerned ACMOH shall supervise seamless execution of activities noted above in co-ordination with Dy. CMOH-II. Dy CMOH-III/ CMOH.
CMOH/ Local authority will arrange a refresher session for the RBSK-MHTs at the District/ Subdivision level by a team formed by the Ophthalmologist and MT(Opto.) as the facilitators. The basic logistics for doing this primary-screening will be arranged from the district. Such trainings must be completed within January 2023.
District level Task Force headed by the District Magistrate already constituted as per instruction in Memo. no. 211-Secy (HFW)/2022 dated 16 August 2022, will review performance of RBSK-MHT in respect of SESP on regular basis.
These instructions take immediate effect and all concerned authorities be informed accordingly.
Health & Family Welfare Department
No. 273-Secy dated 14.10.2022, Source
Health, Chokher Alo, RBSK