School Health Week
28 February 2014
Did you know that 4-8 March 2014 is School Health Week? Initiatives by the Western Cape Education Department and the Western Cape Department of Health, will see the two departments work together to highlight the importance of adequate healthcare that is easily accessible to scholars and that can also potentially save their lives.
By taking care of the wellbeing of learners and detecting health issues early, the absenteeism rate in Western Cape schools will also drop considerably.
One such initiative is the launch of the Wellness Mobile Service.
In November 2013, the Departments of Health and Education announced that a fleet of five state of the art mobile units will start serving community’s in the Western Cape from June 2014.
These units have been designed to visit schools across the province to provide health care to Grade R and Grade 1 learners. The Initiative runs parallel with the current integrated health programme service.
Here are some of the services these Mobile Health Clinics will offer:
- Learners vision and hearing.
- Ear, eye and skin examinations.
- Testing of gross and fine motor skills, mental health, speech and tuberculosis.
- Dental healthcare.
Human Papillomavirus Vaccinations
It is vital that school girls, from the age of nine years old and up get vaccinated for the Human Papillomavirus. Close to 80% of cervical cancers are caused by HPV.
This vaccination prevents the infection of the virus from developing on the cervix.
Statistics on HPV
- The incidence rate of Cervical cancer in South Africa is reported between 22.8 and 27 per 100 000 women as compared to the global average of 15.8.
- Annually there are some 5743 new cases reported with 3027 associated deaths[ii] in South Africa.
- 99% of cervical cancers are associated with HPV.
- About 7 in every 10 people will have HPV at some point in their lifetime.
- Two strains of HPV (HPV-16 and HPV-18) are found to cause over 70% of the cervical cancer cases
- HPV-16 and HPV-18 strains are vaccine-preventable.
- The World Health Organisation has recommended vaccinating girls before they are sexually active (between 9 to 13 years.
There are many aspects from the Integrated Nutrition Programme that can assist in the general well-being of learners at our schools.
- Schools and parents need to promote healthy eating habits as well as an active lifestyle.
- It is important that children receive good vitamins and minerals that can be found in the healthy food that they eat. These supplements can also be consumed in tablet or syrup form.
- Learners need to be weighed regularly to monitor growth and development.
- Children need to be de-wormed regularly to avoid worm infestation, bearing in mind that weight loss is also a symptom of possible worm build-up.
Apart from all the initiatives mentioned here, it is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to take care of the well-being of their children. It is important that you take your child for regular visits to the doctor, where a full examination can take place.