Assessment of availability and quality of health services in Secondary Schools in Nebbi District
Okumu, Patricia Thiwe
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Introduction: Health is among the issues that determine the performance of a child at school. Children are vulnerable to communicable diseases, injuries, social problems and negative lifestyles which affect their physical growth, school attendance and the ability to learn. The government of Uganda has designed a school health program to address the health needs of school going children. The objective of this study was to assess the school health services in Nebbi district in order to improve the health status of school going children. Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study of 27 secondary schools in Nebbi district; Uganda. Data collection applied both qualitative and quantitative methods. The study population included; head teachers plus deputies, health welfare teachers, district health officer and district education officer.. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS version 12.0, and qualitative data analyzed manually using qualitative manifest content analysis. Results: The commonest forms of health services provided by the schools surveyed were water and sanitation/hygiene (100%) recreation (92.5%), guidance and counseling (81.5%), health education (81.5%), and pregnancy screening (77.8%). Government aided schools were more likely to provide health education compared to other schools (χ2 = 0.7, p < 0.001). Boarding schools were more likely to provide first aid compared to day schools (χ2 = 6.89, p < 0.032). None of the schools surveyed had a trained health care provider. Safety of school children and staff was found to be inadequate. Conclusions and recommendations: First aid box was the commonest form of arrangement for provision of medical care to school children, teachers and support staff. Safety of school children, teachers and support staff was also inadequate. District authorities responsible for School health services should supervise schools to ensure standards of school health services and quality of care.