The Eastern Regional Coordinating Council and the Eastern Regional Health Directorate, are considering measures to compel senior high schools to hire resident health officers.
This is in a bid to have a more proactive approach to handling illness in schools and preventing possible escalation and death.Healthcare withing secondary schools is firmly in the public eye following the illness and deaths that have called into question medical preparedness.
In the Eastern Region, a student of Koforidua Secondary Technical School died from a meningitis infection over the weekend. This was the latest of several meningitis-related deaths in the region, where about 87 cases have been recorded in 2017 with nine deaths.
There were also concerns at the St. Martin’s Senior High School at Nsawam after about 20 students collapsed in the school over the weekend, though medical officials have attributed the occurrence to panic attacks.
Outside the region, a suspected outbreak of swine flu has resulted in four deaths at the Kumasi Academy in the Ashanti Region.
A student of Damongo Senior High School in the Northern Region has also died, while 12 others are currently on admission at the Damongo District Hospital.
In view of these occurrences, the Easter Regional Minister, Eric Kwakye Darfuor, said ensuring the presence of resident health personnel could be very crucial to addressing the problem.
Commenting on the circumstances that led to the death of the Koforidua Secondary Technical School student, he said, “the guy, we are told had been sick for some time, but he himself was not reporting. If you talk to those close to him, they tell you he had not been healthy for some time. So he did not report his illness early and the [school’s] infirmary is nothing to write home about.”
Mr. Kwakye Darfuor thus seconded the suggestion from the region’s Health Director, Dr. Charity Sarpong, saying, “we should actually compel heads of institutions to create a first port of call in all the schools, employ some health personnel and put them there. It beats my imagination how you can be handling about 3000 students without any form of attendants medically.”
Insurance for students
Aside from this suggestions, the health scares ins schools have informed the National Council of Parent Teacher Associations’ decision to put in place an insurance package for senior high school students nationwide.
The council revealed to Citi News that agreement with an insurance company to charge each student GHc 7.00 a term has been reached.
The Ghana Education Service is also in favour of this move.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana