Health screening programme to be implemented in schools at end of June

An expansive health screening initiative will be launched in schools nationwide through a joint effort by the Ministries of Health and Education.

The programme will be rolled out by the end of June, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony announced on Friday, at the launching of the national expansion of the HEARTS Initiative for the management of cardiovascular diseases, at the Pegasus Hotel.

The aim of the programme is to ensure the nation’s children are offered preventative care and opportunities for a healthy lifestyle, through early detection of any health-related issues.

We’re starting that programme this month and we have targeted 27,000 nursery school children to be completed before the year comes to an end,” Minister Anthony explained.

From left: Director of the Department of Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health, PAHO/WHO, Dr Anselem Hennis, Minister, Dr Frank Anthony and PAHO/WHO Representative to Guyana and Suriname, Dr Luis Codina

There will be a package of services provided to all schools, where each child will be examined. They will receive dental and eye care, among other services.

“For persons at nursery, they’ll be screened once during that nursery period, then during primary we’ll screen again and then at secondary they’ll get another screening. So, over time, we will have the data to compare and to also intervene,” the health minister stated.

The programme also seeks to tackle the diverse challenges present in classrooms while simultaneously mitigating potential learning setbacks. The government wants to foster an understanding among young individuals about the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle and consuming a nutritious diet.

The initiative seeks to proactively prevent the onset of diseases and promote overall well-being.

Meanwhile, Coordinator of the Chronic Disease Unit, Dr Dianielle Drepaul stated that health programmes aimed at promoting healthy lifestyle choices have already been rolled out in Regions Two and Nine. The unit aims to target 55 schools in 2023 and eventually all schools.