Health Ministry launching pilot programme for early detection of health issues in children

The Ministry of Health is taking a modern approach to the delivery of key services to children who may have disabilities or health issues affecting them.

During a recent handing over of health supplies to the Region Ten Health Office, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony disclosed that the ministry will be rolling out screening services at nursery, primary, and secondary schools.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony

These include eye, ear and dental examinations.

“When a child starts going to school, maybe they are not seeing properly. And if they are not seeing properly to [read] the board, then they might have difficulties. And over time, that can contribute to them not learning properly. Or maybe that child has a hearing problem. But the teacher wouldn’t know, and might punish the child because they are not learning,” Minister Anthony noted.

The goal, he explained, is to screen every child, beginning at the nursery school level, from now until the end of the year.

“So, when we screen them, if they need spectacles, we will make the spectacles available… If they need hearing aids, we will make that available for the child. We will check their mouths, make sure they don’t have caries, and then we will work with the parents to make sure they know how to teach the child to care for the mouth, and so forth,” Dr. Anthony elaborated.

General evaluations will also be conducted on children to ensure they are not suffering from any diseases or neurological disorders.

Minister Anthony assured that if either is detected, the Ministry of Health will work to find solutions to the issues being faced by the children.

The project will first be rolled out in Region Ten, and will begin with screening in nursery schools. Next year, the programme will expand to include primary, and then secondary schools.

“The whole aim here is that a child going to school will be screened three times during their school life: once at nursery, once at primary, and once at secondary. And in that way, if there is any problem, we will be able to detect it early, and hopefully we can fix it early so that that child can have a healthy life,” Dr. Anthony expressed.

He urged persons to assist in supporting the initiatives to assist their children in growing and developing to the best of their abilities, as well as speak to other parents to get them involved to ensure that the children reap the full benefits of these programmes.