An exploration of the learners’ perceptions, awareness and satisfaction regarding the implementation of Integrated School Health Programme (ISHP) in selected secondary schools in uMgungundlovu district, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.
Khoza, Thabisile Rebecca.
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When learners are subject to adverse health risks, school attendance and academic performance are correspondingly affected. This phenomenon is a nationally and internationally recognized problem considering healthy youth productive to members of the society. The Department of Health (DoH) has introduced a re-engineering program for primary health care of which school health programs are one of three main areas of the primary health care services focusing on, but not limited to immunization, teenage pregnancy education about Human Immune Deficiency Virus /Acquired Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV/AIDs), and screening for health problem such as poor eyesight and hearing impairment. In 2012, the new Integrated School Health Program (ISHP) was piloted in very poor schools in the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Limpopo. This study examines the learners’ perceptions, awareness and satisfactions regarding the implementation of the ISHP services in uMgungundlovu, District, in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A quantitative, non-experimental, descriptive design was used in this study to collect data from the four selected secondary schools to reach the following objectives: To determine the extent to which the ISHP is reaching people it is intended to effect; to describe learners’ perception regarding the implementation of ISHP; and to determine the learners’ level of satisfaction with the implementation of ISHP. The total population of the study was expected to be 300 respondents from age 13-16 years which was calculated using a sample size calculator. The sample was 75 learners according to the percentages of the population in secondary schools and the grades of the study of the respondents. However, only 269 learners agreed to participate which left the response rate at 80.4 percent. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire after obtaining ethical clearance from the University and were analysed descriptively. The findings revealed that participants perceived that school health nurses who are coming to visit the school once in 6 months only 20.1 percent had never seen school health nurses in the schools, 16.4 percent were learners and 4.1 percent were learners saying school health nurses visit weekly. According to the ISHP, oral health 35.3 percent were offered in their schools ,vision 27.1 percent ,immunization 19.7 percent, TB screen 17.1 percent and anaemia 4.1percent. This indicated that learners in rural areas were likely to receive oral care, hearing care, speech care and TB screening. Awareness about ISHP services offered in their schools as “know your body” revealed 48.7 percent of learners showed that they know about these services. HIV/AIDs 26.0 percent, medical male circumcision 22.3 percent, sexual reproductive 30.5 percent, and learner referral 14.9 percent. Learners were not sure about learners’ health problems, physically and emotional challenges educators are not equipped to deal with or do not have sufficient time to manage. It was found that 61 percent had a high perception, 31.5 percent, had a medium perception and 7.4 percent had a low perception about ISHP implementation in the school. It was concluded that the implementation of the programme is not consistent with the objectives of the School Health Policy (ISHP, 2012). Due to lack of infrastructure and shortages of nurses, the ISHP did not cover all schools. These findings were not expected and they came as a surprise to the researcher. Conclusion made from the research findings, contributed to recommendation for nursing practice, nursing education and nursing research to enhance the quality of life of learners of ages between 13 to 16 years through comprehensive school health services. Key Words: ISHP, Learner, secondary schools, perception.