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School Health Services and Millennium Development Goals

Author(s): Mininim Oseji | Anthony Okolo

Journal: International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health
ISSN 1840-4529

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 198;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: School health services | MDGs | immunisation | nutrition

Background: School health services are geared at preventing, protecting and improving the health statusof the school population to enable them benefit fully from the school system. The year 2015 is the targetdate for the attainment of the eight Millennium Development Goals adopted by world leaders at theMillennium Summit in September 2000. Coverage of immunisation against measles and prevalence ofunderweight children under five years are both indicators for tracking attainment of MillenniumDevelopment Goals (MDGs) 1 and 4 – eradicate extreme hunger and poverty and reduce child mortality.Aims and Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the immunization and nutrition statusas well as general well-being of primary school children through pre-enrolment medical examination.Methods/Study Design: A rural community in southern Nigeria was chosen for this pilot study, whichwas cross-sectional in design and conducted in 2010. The study instrument was a pre-enrolment medicalexamination form adopted from that provided by the State Ministry of Health. All newly enrolled schoolchildren in all three primary schools in the community were examined by medical doctors who completedthe section on physical examination of the form. Nurses and volunteer assistants took the heights andweights of the children. Personal details and medical history of the examined children were thereafterobtained from the parents/guardians who were requested to give the dates their children received routineimmunization, with photocopies of the immunization record where available. The heights and weights ofthe children were used to assess nutritional status by comparing with growth standards from the WHOMulticentre Growth Reference Study. Data were analysed using Epi Info version 3.5.1.Results/Findings: A total of 95 children were examined males being 54.7% while females were 45.3%.Medical history was provided for 46 children, 54.3% of which had evidence of completing routineimmunization including measles. Calculation of height-for-age revealed stunting and severe stunting in16.3% and 18.6% of children respectively. Of those whose weights-for-age were calculated, 2.6% wereunderweight while 7.9% were severely underweight. Scarification marks were found on the abdomen of34.7% of the children examined, denoting traditional treatment for a previous episode of severe febrileillness such as malaria. Splenomegaly was detected in 9.5%.Study Limitation: The study was limited by the poor response from parents and guardians in providingpersonal details and medical history from examined children.CONCLUSION: School health services can provide data for monitoring, evaluating and improving childsurvival strategies beginning at the community level.
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