Health Ministry to offer basic health services in schools – Dr Anthony
The Health Ministry will be introducing a programme to offer basic health services at the school level, in its aim to reduce learning loss in the education system.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony pointed out on Monday that children are unable to perform to their best ability sometimes, due to various medical conditions such as hearing impairment or some form of disability. Once it is corrected early, a significant degree of learning loss can be prevented.
“The idea is that at different points in the life of a child, we’d be able to do screening for certain things. We have a package of services that we will be developing, where we’re going to screen this child and that would include, they get an eye test, oral examination, check their hearing and some other basic things. Once we do that, if we detect children with these types of challenges, we will be able to fix it,” he shared.
This package of services is currently being developed. It will be introduced within the next few months.
“We’re planning to do it just before you come into primary school and as you leave primary to go into secondary to screen again. The timing and dates, they are working those things out.”
According to the Health Minister, correcting habits and poor health practices from an early age can also reduce risks or complications presented later in life. The intention is to influence the younger population to be active, eat nutritiously and practice other healthy habits.
“If you start reducing risk factors earlier in life, you can prevent a lot of chronic, non-communicable diseases later on in life. If someone becomes obsess during their teenage years and they have not been exercising or eating the wrong foods, you can expect that person to have chronic non-communicable diseases quite early.”
Another issue on the agenda has been the reduction of teenage pregnancy cases. These efforts have seen collaboration with the Education Ministry, as well as international organisations like the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
“We’re working with them to reduce teenage pregnancy. When a young girl gets pregnant, it can be disruptive to their education and to their further development. This is one area that the Ministry has been working closely with the Education Department in trying to reduce teenage pregnancy,” he noted. (G12)