Knowledge Attitude and Practice of School Health Programme among Head Teachers of Primary Schools in Egor Local Government Area
This study examined knowledge attitude and practice of school health programme among head teachers of primary schools in Egor Local Government Area. A healthful school environment is that which embraces the health and safety of learners and other members of the school community. This study of assessment of implementation of school health of implementation of school health programme in Egor local government area is aimed at assessing the health services provided by the schools. A non-experimental cross-sectional survey design was used and data was obtained from respondents using structured questionnaire in form of interview guide and checklist was also used. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistical technique. Teachers of various secondary schools were contacted at a time to obtain the relevant information as required. Most secondary schools did not provide health services and often neglect health education and consider it as a minor subject, but lay emphasis on other subjects like Mathematics and English.
1.1 Background to the Study
Health is closely interlinked to education. Good health and good education are not only ends in themselves, but also means which provide individuals with the tools to lead productive and satisfying lives. It is commonly believed that a child’s ability to attain her or his full potential is directly related to the complimentary effect of good health, good nutrition, physical activity and quality education, (WHO 2013). To attain educational achievements, children must fully participate in educational activities. However, the reality of the double burden of disease in Nigeria, in the face of weakened health care system calls for cost effective sustainable measures of addressing communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country. The School Health Program (SHP) has been suggested as a key component of national health promotion program because when integrated across risk factors and diseases, it rightly addresses the double burden.
Mendis (2016). It also provides the opportunity to ensure life cycle approach required for child development as it complements maternal and child health services (Bundy Donald. 2011). The SHP provides a huge opportunity and most cost effective investment a nation can make to improve education and health (WHO, 2018). Coverage of the school system is often superior to health system, coupled with extensive skilled workforce and strong community relationship (UNESCO, 2018), hence its potential role in optimising the health system. The SHP is therefore an important component of the overall health care delivery system of any country (Ademokun, Osungbade &, Obembe, 2014). It comprises of all projects/activities in the school environment which contribute to the understanding, maintenance and improvement of the health of the school community. It is geared towards protecting and improving the health status of the school community to enable them benefit maximally from the school system. Next to the family, the school is the primary institution responsible for the development of young people all over the world (Ademokun, Osungbade &, Obembe, 2014).
The school has direct contact with vast majority of the nation’s young people aged 5-17 years, for about 6 hours a day, and for up to 13 critical years of their social, psychological, physical, and intellectual development (Ademokun, Osungbade &, Obembe, 2014). School-age children constitute about 23% of the population of the average Nigerian community. School-age is a period of rapid growth and development (formative period). Although, largely dependent and not considered productive in terms of income generation, the health status of the school-age and indices are used to determine a nation’s state of development (Akani, Nkanginieme & Oruamabo 2001). The health habits inculcated in them can be carried on to adulthood. The health of young people is strongly linked to their academic success, and their academic success is strongly linked to their health (UNICEF 1998).
School health promotes growth and development of every child taking into consideration his/her health needs (Federal Ministry of Education, 2018). It creates awareness of the collaborative efforts of the school, home and the community in health promotion. It aids development of health consciousness among the children. It also creates awareness on the availability and utilization of various health related resources in the community. It builds the skills of learners and staff for health promotion in the school community.
Research and evaluation have demonstrated that school based health centres represent cost-effective investment of public resources. A study conducted by John Hopkins University School of public health attributes a reduction in medical expenditure related to inpatient drugs and emergency department to the use of school based health centre. School health program deals with all aspects of the total school health activities which contributed to the understanding, maintenance and improvement of the health of the school population, particularly the students’ learning environment safe and conducive for learning (American School Health Association, 2006).
According to American School Health Association (2011), school health program are those activities and procedures that contribute to the maintenance and improvement of the health of school children and staff including health services, healthful living and health education. The healthy development of children and adolescents is influenced by many societal institutions. After the family, school represents the second most influential environment in a child‘s life. The school is the primary institution responsible for the development of young people all over the world. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). Schools have direct contact with more than 95 percent of the nation’s young people aged 5–17 years, for about 6 hours a day, and for up to 13 critical years of their social, psychological, physical, and intellectual development. The health of young people is strongly linked to their academic success, and their academic success is strongly linked with their health. Thus, helping students stay healthy is a fundamental part of the mission of schools (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).
School health program is geared towards preventing, protecting and improving the health status of the school population to enable them benefit fully from the school system. The school provides a unique opportunity for health education and a means of establishing a firm foundation for the healthy habits of the future adult population of any nation (Federal Ministry of Education, 2006).
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Children spend a considerable part of their life in school and they are exposed to a variety of environmental, physical, emotional and social influences. Accident can occur in the classrooms, playground and on streets when going to school or home. The various types include- Laceration and wound which occur from sharp objects; Fractures and sprains which occur as a result of a fall from a height or from a direct blow. Foreign body in the ear, nose, eyes or throat, for example coin, stone, nuts, beads. Bites and stings from snake or scorpion, dog or human beings. (Clark, 2004).
A significant number of students engage in behaviours that threaten their health, such as unsafe sexual activity, suicide attempts, and substance use (Adolescent Health Research Group, 2003). In particular, students who are failing in education have exceptionally high healthcare needs (Denny, Clark & Watson, 2004). Also health-risk behaviours such as substance use, violence, and physical inactivity are consistently linked to academic failure and often affect students’ school attendance, grades, test scores, and ability to pay attention in class (Federal Ministry of health, 2009). The prevalent diseases in Nigeria include malaria, malnutrition, measles, respiratory infection, diarrheal diseases and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS. The findings of a recent study of health problems in a secondary school showed that the diseases are also prevalent among students. The study also showed that the health risk factors among students include drug use (32.2%), alcohol (9.6%) and smoking (4.2%). (Federal Ministry of Health, 2006).
The majority of the public schools in Egor are over populated and are located in bushy areas some kilo meters away from the community. Schools located within these areas do not have good drainage which accumulates stagnant water making it a good breeding site for mosquito, grasses grow long and harbour reptiles like snake and other harmful insect. There is no good water supply which exposes the school children to water borne diseases (Observation). Despite all these problems, only a few schools do have school health centres some of which are not functioning or effective. For this purpose, this study will assess school health program in secondary schools in EgorLGA. There is therefore the need for simple and flexible system that will provide regular collected data that are available for use at the local, regional and national levels.