The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, under the National Health Mission launched the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK),
an innovative and ambitious initiative, which envisages Child Health Screening and Early Intervention Services, a systemic approach of early
identi¬fication and link to care, support and treatment. This programme subsumes the existing school health programme.
Child Health Screening and Early Intervention Services basically refer to early detection and management of a set of 30 health conditions prevalent
in children less than 18 years of age. These conditions are broadly Defects at birth, Diseases in children, Deficiency conditions and Developmental delays
including Disabilities - 4D’s.
It is estimated that about 270 million children in the age group from birth to eighteen years including the newborn
and those attending Angawadi Centers and Government schools will be bene¬fitted through this programme in a phased manner (Census 2011).
Any effective health intervention will reduce both direct costs and out-of-pocket expenditure. Child Health Screening and Early Intervention Services also
aims at reducing the extent of disability, at improving the quality of life and enabling all persons to achieve their full potential.
The RBSK programme corresponds to the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Adolescent Health strategy (RMNCH+A),
Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific, and Child Survival and Development – A Call to Action
summit held in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu in 2013. It aims at providing continuum of care from birth to throughout childhood period. It is
a step towards ‘Health for All’ or ‘Universal Health Care’ wherein children would get free assured services under NHM. The task is gigantic but quite
possible, through the systematic approach that RBSK envisages. Implemented in right earnest, it would yield rich dividends in protecting and promoting
the health of our children.