10th July, 2011
Public primary schools in Lagos State will be linked to all her primary healthcare centres in an exercise aimed at further improving the health and wellbeing of children in public schools, the state Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire has said.
Orelope-Adefulire, who disclosed this over the weekend at the launch of school health club in state public schools, noted that government has prioritised the health and education of children and will ensure its sustenance for the benefit of the future leaders.
She urged the management of all public schools in the state to immediately put in place the instruments for necessary implementation of the programme in order to facilitate the smooth take off of the school health club in the various schools just as she expressed her confidence in the ability of principals and head teachers of schools to ensure the success of the programme.
â€œI appeal to you all to take good advantage of this initiative by extending it to all private public schools. In order to achieve maximum success for this programme, the Ministry of Health, Partnership for Transforming Health Systems II (PATH2) and Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) plan to organise training programme for all teachers and caregivers in schools,â€ she stated.
Orelope-Adefulire noted that the training will help to build the capacity of teachers and care givers in public schools on the use of the implementation guidelines and standard operation procedure for implementing the school health club.
Said she: â€œthe launch of the school health clubs in the state is another giant stride towards improving the health status of our people by adopting a catch them young strategy most importantly as part of our governmentâ€™s effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, that is improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality in the area of providing qualitative healthcare services for all the citizens of the stateâ€.
The Deputy Governor who recalled the re-launch of the uniform voluntary associations like the boys scout, girls guide, boys and girls brigade among others in public primary and secondary schools by government in 2009, explained that the initiative in a way has been able to bring back the core values of discipline, endurance, corporation as well as inculcate leadership skills in the society especially within students who are looked up to as tomorrowsâ€™ leaders.
While expressing optimism that the state has a future in a crop of young children and young adults who will be enlisted in the school health club to become agents of positive campaign to promote and propagate strategy on how to improve the health status of residents of the state, she pointed out that government will continue to support various initiatives to empower the young generation and make them part of the driving force in building the society and securing the future of the state.
â€œSome of the benefits of this school health club is to promote effective programme on healthy and safety environment which will include how to access good nutrition with clean water and proper sanitation in our schools, it will provide health education and life skills training for our students, it will propagate the need to acquire sports and recreational facilities and put them to good use and ensure proper monitoring of growth and health development in our various schools,â€ she stated.
The Deputy Governor listed other benefits of the club as including the provision of basic health intervention and counselling and having the capacity to reach a large proportion of children with adequate health education and services among other numerous services.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina, noted that the school health club has the potential of reaching a high proportion of children with adequate health education and services stressing that a healthy environment is thus needed to provide school children with the best opportunity of making appropriate adjustment needed during their growing up period.
She noted that by safeguarding the health of the school children today, government is ensuring the health of leaders of tomorrow, adding that it was in recognition of this that the school health programme was revitalised in 2006.
â€œTo achieve this, the Ministry of Health conducts free screening of school pupils in the public primary schools in the state on a regular basis. This screening comprises medical, dental and ENT services, provision of basic drugs, mass de-worming, treatment of minor ailments and minor procedures such as scaling and polishing, tooth extractions and removal of earwax. The screening also involves health education and promotion and distribution of posters and handbills on oral hygiene, environmental sanitation and adequate nutrition,â€ she said.
Adeshina stated that the school health programme comprises all activities in the school environment aimed at promoting and maintaining the health and development of the school community, stressing that its role in achieving millennium development goals 1, 4 and 5 cannot be overemphasized.