An analysis of health inspection as a component of school health service, in Kwazulu-Natal.
Introduction In 1996 there were 1,847,440 pupils in 4007 primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) who were targeted for school Health Inspection (HI). In the same year there were only 95 school health teams who were visiting schools for HI. The School Health Service (SHS) had been running on a racial basis since the Apartheid era of government, and needed to be reviewed in order to measure its effectiveness and to make it relevant to the new government and its new health policies. Purpose To review HI as a key component of School Health Services (SHS) and make recommendations to improve it's impact on the health of the school child and on health promotion in schools. Objectives To describe the structure, process, output and outcome of HI in KZN; to measure the impact of HI on the health of school children; and to calculate the SHS consultation cost and compare it with other primary health care services. Methodology A cross sectional study involving 21 schools covered by the SHS and 5 schools not covered by SHS was undertaken. The study area was KZN and the sample area was Indlovu region. All health authorities and racial groups participated in the study. Results A total of 212 children and 129 parents were interviewed. Of the children interviewed, 156 pupils (73.5%) had been involved in HI and 56 (26%) had not. The average nurse/pupil ratio was 1:49301. HI coverage was 62%. Of the 156 pupils examined, 108 were referred and 53% of them went for treatment. 93 % of parents interviewed gave a positive comment on HI and 24.8 % of them did not know their children's problems before they were informed by the SHN. Std. 5 pupils interviewed before and after HI were compared and it was found that 57% from the after-HI group went for treatment for their health problems compared to 53% before HI. Subjective feelings improved from 15% pain before HI to 0% after HI. Conclusion HI had a positive influence on encouraging pupils to seek recommended treatment and this is likely to improve their health.
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