All first-year Senior High School (SHS) students have been directed by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to carry valid National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards.
The students are also expected to carry along to school, any immunisation card, the Director-General of the GES, Prof Kwasi Opoku Amankwa further directed at a press conference in Accra on Monday.
The press conference was to update the media on the Free SHS policy, the double track system and steps being taken to ensure the smooth take-off of the double track system as the Green Track begins the academic year today September 11, 2018.
The directives are part of an initiative by the GES and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) for all first-year SHS students to go through a health screening programme beginning this year.
Prof Amankwa explained that the rationale behind the screening exercise was aimed at identifying health problems early for effective management to prevent any adverse effect on learning and promote healthy lifestyle behaviour among students.
He said the package of the screening included medical history and general physical examination, vision assessment, hearing assessment, oral health screening, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) TB screening, nutrition assessment and laboratory examination.
Professor Amankwa said the first round of screening, which began in December 2017 and ended in June 2018 was able to cover 294,256 students from 671 SHSs and appropriate referrals made for those who needed further attention.
Purpose of the screening
“It is expected that all SHS One students will be screened at designated facilities with trained personnel assigned to all schools by the GHS.
“The purpose is to ensure early identification of health problems for prompt management and to prevent transmission of communicable diseases,” Professor Amankwa explained.
He, therefore, asked schools to ensure that the students went to those designated facilities to be screened as part of the requirements for admission.
Last year’s health challenges
Recalling what led to the collaboration between the two institutions, Prof Amankwa said following the introduction of the Free SHS last year a lot more students were admitted which led to congestions.
“As a result of that, we had series of discussions with the GHS and we have recently signed an MoU. Last year, the GHS staff did a medical examination for about 270,000 of the first years.
“This year, we are going to do it for all of them including those who were not covered. We also have arrangements with them where our schools’ infirmaries are going to be set up and they will provide us with health officials to man them,” he explained.
Prof Amankwa said the GHS had also provided a breakdown of schools and the nearest health centres they could attend for medical attention when the need arose.
Credit: Graphic Online