Tiruchirapalli, Nov 15: A special health care project, under the National Rural Health Mission(NRHM), to provide medical and psychological counselling was launched at Dr K A P Viswanatham Government Medical College Hospital here.
A sum of Rs eleven lakh had been sanctioned for this project for the current fiscal, according to Medical college Dean P Ravishankar.
He said yesterday under the programme that adolescents would be offered counselling for physical and mental health related problems every week at the hospital, between 1030 hrs and noon every Saturday.
A team of doctors from the hospital's psychiatry, obstetrics and gynaecology and paediatric doctors would offer the counselling and follow-up treatment.
Prabhu Ilango, Head, Department of Paediatrics of the College and Convenor of the project, said MB BS and nursing students of the college would be trained in identifying the problems among adolescents. The trained students would visit schools and colleges, especially in the rural areas of the district, to identify the problems among adolescents.
The students would prepare a profile of the screened adolescents and those found with problems and behaviour patterns, considered to be 'high risk,' would be referred for the counselling and follow-up treatment at the hospital. The focus would be on problems faced by adolescents such as drug abuse, depression and other mental or physical health problems, which most adolescents hesitate to share with parents and elders.
''Most adolescents would prefer to share their problems with their peers and hence the project is for adolescents and by adolescents,'' Dr Prabhu Ilango said. Under the II phase, the project would be extended to adolescents working in the unorganised sector, he added.
District Collector T Soundiah, who inaugurated the project, said adolescence was a critical stage in one's life and it was essential to address the problems faced by the important segment of the population, especially in the rural areas.
According to S Panneerselvam, Secretary of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), the college, along with the IAP will observe the Children and Adolescents Welfare Week. A series of awareness programmes have been planned under the programme, Dr Panneerselvam added.