As if to prove a point made yesterday in the first installment of this topic, i.e. war is being waged against our children, I learn (via the media) that a 3-year old child who went missing yesterday in Grassy Park is found dead today. Four persons have been arrested in connection with the child's death. Another young bud which will never blossom.
The ISHP is a collaboration between the Departments of Health, Social Development and Basic Education. In this post I will focus on the strands steered by the education department.
The Integrated School Health Programme is part of the comprehensive primary health package which operates within the DBE’s CSTL Framework and should:
- Focus on achievement of health and educational outcomes;
- Be implemented within a child’s rights approach. This means that children should not be passive recipients, but must be empowered actors in their own development;
- Ensure full coverage of all learners starting in the most disadvantaged schools;
- Ensure that appropriate assessment, treatment, care and support services are available and accessible to all learners who are identified as requiring them;
- Be informed by local priorities;
- Take into account quality and equitable distribution of resources.
The School Health Policy objectives should be achieved by means of the following key strategies:
- Health Promotion and Health Education
- Provision of an essential package of health services in schools
- Coordination and Partnership
- Capacity Building
- Community Participation
This sums up the policy, but like all policy, the success thereof is measured when the "rubber-hits-the-road". And like all policy, implementation is often bedeviled by a lack of resources.
Let's look at the current reality of the ISHP. The entire metropole is serviced by less than 6 doctors and not many more school nurses. Schools don't necessarily know what the roles and responsibilities are of the workforce across the various stakeholders that service the program. I'm not even sure that the workforce know. There appears to be a lack of clear communication and synergy. But everyone is servicing the program objectives in their various silos, and while all departments are busy, 1000s of children are not receiving full value. They crying out for attention. The problem is, we all too busy to hear them.