Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Health checks for school kids

Every year, the Tanzanian government requires schools to check the eyesight, height and weight of EVERY child in the school. So St Jude's has just been through the exercise of measuring, weighing and inspecting all 850 students. A team of volunteer trainee doctors visited the school and worked non-stop to get the job done. They added extra checks such a hearing and general body check! A BIG thanks goes to Mr and Mrs Ryan, Miss Davina, Miss Sarah-Beth, Mr Gurj who came from America, Australia and the UK and also to our Irish volunteers Miss Rebecca, Miss Niamh and finally to Mr Jacob from Australia.

Checking every ear in the school

This was the first year the School had the resources to check the ears of every student. They discovered that more than 75% of students had blocked or partially blocked ears due to too much wax. So now the School is educating parents and guardians about the need to clean their child’s ears out gently a few times each year.

The health checks also revealed that lots of the new students need glasses and many have skin infections. Many of these problems would typically go undetected in a Tanzanian home and make concentrating and learning so much more difficult. 85 students were found to require glasses and so over the coming month the School will help them to see an eye doctor in town for further investigation.

It ain't glamorous, but worm medicine puts a smile on faces!

Worms are a major problem in most of the developing world, and especially in poor countries like Tanzania. They are most prevalent in school-age children and while normally not life-threatening, infections cause chronic health problems in children. These include anemia, malnutrition, and diminished cognitive development that usually results in noticeably lower test scores and attendance.

The wonderful group of doctors doing the St Judes health checks helped to source worming tablets for not only each student, but also 3 other people in each family. The school has purchased thousands of doses and will be educating the families of students how to take the tablets etc.

A very big thank you to PFIZER AUSTRALIA for donating thousands for worming tablets. Our children and their families greatly appreciate it!

The School of St Jude stretches its resources to the maximum so that these bright children from the poorest homes have the best chance of getting an excellent education. This school is like an ark. It provides a protected environment that removes many of the obstacles facing these children. It provides uniforms, free lunches, health checks and medicine, as well as excellent classroom teaching.

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