More than 90 000 learners from different schools around the province were screened to identify any health barriers that could negatively affect their health and learning outcomes through the Intergrated School Health Programme (ISHP).

From January to September this year, 97,273 learners from 532 Public Schools were visited. Out of this number, 22,410 learners identified with health problems were managed appropriately, referred for further management and followed up at the nearest Primary Health Care Facilities or specialists. Problems identified included, speech, hearing, oral and suspected TB amongst others.

Total number of learners with visual defects who received spectacles after being refracted by Optometrists during January to September 2019 is 1 459.

“The ISHP is one of the Primary Health Care (PHC) Re-engineering streams where health services are provided in schools by School Health Nurses according to the Integrated School Health Policy. The objective of the programme is to provide preventive and promote health service, support and facilitate learning through identifying and addressing health barriers to learning, facilitate access to health and other services where required as well as to support the school community in creating a safe and secure environment for teaching and learning, said Marousi Mzondi, Departmental Manager for Child Health.

The main components of the ISHP are health promotion, Individual Learner Assessment, On-site Service Provision, referral and follow up by nurse, teacher, parent, guardian and Environmental Health Assessments by Environmental Health Officers.

Before schools are visited and services are offered to learners, consent forms are given out to learners so that parents are fully aware of what is offered to learners.

“All parents are encouraged to voluntarily sign a consent form before any learner can be provided with comprehensive package of school health screening services. Parents or guardians should also be informed that learners who are 12 years and older can consent to receiving health services (as per the Children’s Act, 2005) without having to seek parental consent. A signed consent form is valid for one year and they must be kept safe in a file at schools in readiness to provision of health services”, concluded Mzondi.

Source: Gauteng Province