Experts to check lung-related illness among students

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The Maharashtra government will form a committee of medical experts to undertake a survey of all school going students across the state to get a count of those suffering from lung-related ailments.

“The government will form a committee of medical experts that include specialists, who will conduct a survey of all school going children to identify those suffering from lung related ailments like asthma, so that it can be controlled at an early state,” state Health Minister Deepak Sawant said in response to a query in the Legislative Council.

Speaking during the Question Hour, Congress MLC Anant Gadgil said according to a recent survey conducted by a private firm, around 13 per cent school-going children suffer from lung related illnesses due to increasing construction activities, air pollution, climatic changes and lack of proper ventilation facilities.

He further questioned if cases of Asthma are on the rise among children in 5-11 age-group and if one out of 6 children in Maharashtra suffer from asthma.

In response to Gadgil’s query, Sawant said Mumbai is the second most polluted city after Delhi, followed by Bangalore and Kolkata at third and fourth places, respectively.

“Despite high level of pollution, the polluted air is naturally taken away from the city by sea winds,” he said.

To a query by NCP’s Hemant Takle on the preventive measures taken by government in this direction, Sawant said government through ‘Bal arogya swasthya shivir’, periodically conducts allergen tests of school going children and parents are informed if the child is found to be suffering from any lung-related illnesses.

In 2014-15, medical examination of school-going children in age group of 16-18 was done. Out of total 1,22,36,128 students examined, 1,15,053 were found to be suffering from breathing illness and of them 1,14,713 were given treatment. Remaining 340 students have been sent for further examination, he said.