VDOC: Integrating India’s Healthcare and Education Systems
VDOC, Integrating India’s Healthcare and Education Systems
New Delhi [India], February 17: The co-founder of VDOC Lifesciences Private Limited, Aishwarya Pathak, discusses the value of offering health services in schools and in what way VDOC, with its evidence-based telemedicine solution, is ideal for this task. The health and education of children are strongly intertwined. Children must be healthy to learn and perform at their highest potential in school. Children in good health are more likely to attend school regularly, focus better, and perform better academically. Contrarily, poor health can result in absences from school and subpar academic performance, hindering the overall development of children.
Schools should, therefore, serve as health promoters for their students from an early age by actively promoting healthy habits. Telemedicine can play a significant role in this. Per our research, a doctor is not always present in schools but is called on a need-to-need basis, or a student is transported to the nearest hospital in an emergency. However, VDOCs can assist and provide students with immediate relief and aid in the early detection of health and developmental issues in children.
Micronutrient deficiencies such as iron, vitamin A, zinc, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and iodine deficiency are all linked to severe health issues, including increased susceptibility to infections, blindness, stunted growth, cognitive decline, poor academic and occupational performance, and even death. Young children, adolescent girls, and women aged 15 to 49 are especially vulnerable to the effects of micronutrient deficiency due to their high requirements. Furthermore, most micronutrient deficiencies have vague symptoms, making them difficult to detect and sometimes referred to as “hidden hunger.” Another aspect of malnutrition is obesity, which is more prevalent in urban areas and has consequences for children’s physical health, social and emotional well-being, and self-esteem. Overweight or obese children are more likely to remain overweight into adulthood and develop noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease earlier in life.
The ease of access and affordability provided by telemedicine makes it ideal for monitoring the health status of children, such as vital signs and symptoms, right at their schools, which can aid in the early detection of potential health issues. Students will be more engaged in their health because they will understand the importance of monitoring their health. Besides, it will also help them to inculcate an attitude to take preventative measures to stay healthy, which is likely to have a positive spillover in their adult life. Additionally, telemedicine can provide virtual access to mental health services like counselling and therapy that can assist children in coping with stress, anxiety, and other mental health problems that may affect their growth and academic performance. In addition, telemedicine services provided in schools can save significant amounts of time and money by eliminating the need for students to leave school for medical appointments.
VDOC provides an evidence-based telemedicine service with its cutting-edge technology that allows students to save time by receiving medical consultations and follow-up care at school from doctors of various specialities at a reasonable cost, eliminating the need for them to travel outside of school for medical appointments, saving time and money for parents or guardians who would otherwise have to take time off work to accompany their child to a medical appointment.
Furthermore, health services in schools can impart critical data to the government for improving governance initiatives such as the Midday Meal Scheme, which helps enhance the nutritional status of children. Per our research, biomarkers for micronutrient status are rarely included in population and health-based surveys, leaving a significant evidence gap on the burden of micronutrient malnutrition within countries and globally. Regular health monitoring in schools can provide valuable information regarding children’s nutritional deficits and health concerns.
Furthermore, telemedicine can assist in finding tangible information on the impact of air pollution, arsenic water contamination, and fluoride levels in water on children’s health and development. All these make children vulnerable and can lead to severe diseases if exposed for an extended period. The observations from regular health monitoring can be applied to track the outcomes of existing schemes and policies, address the shortcomings of current policies, and develop better public health policies. For instance, suppose a public school conducts routine dental check-ups on its students and discovers that most have high fluoride levels. This information is critical for the school or the relevant government authority to investigate the cause of such high fluoride levels early. Subsequently, appropriate measures can be taken to reduce the current and future health risks associated with high fluoride intake.
As a result, telemedicine can be instrumental in routine health surveillance that helps identify not only the health risks of an individual but also the community at large, ultimately bolstering India’s public health system. The situation post-COVID-19 presents us with an opportunity to reconsider the type of school we want to have in the future. VDOC can be a capable partner in integrating India’s healthcare and education systems, ensuring that future generations are healthy and resilient to future pandemics by being proactive and health-conscious since childhood.
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