School health screens are often the best way to detect problems that interfere with pupils’ education. The Malawi United Methodist Church (MUMC) in partnership The United Methodist church of the Resurrection (REZ) conducted a three day school screening at Katengeza primary school from 22nd – 24th October, 2012 in Madisi, Dowa district. Katengeza has a population of 625 children from standard 1 – 8. The program managed to screen the junior primary school (standard 1 – 5) which comprised of 417 pupils.
The school screening is one of the programs under community Health Evangelism (CHE). CHE aims at neighborhood transformation whose purpose is to bring together JESUS’ Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19 – 20. It also focuses on maternal care, childcare, home care and prevention of diseases.
Katengeza Primary School in Dowa district
The pupils were screened for vision, BMI, physical assessment and hemoglobin test.
Mercy registering the children during the screening
Cindy checking the pupils’ vision
Macdonald Luhanga checking height of the pupils
REZ team Checking weight of the babies
- Dr Scott conducting a physical assessment
Damiano, a male nurse checking the pupils’ hemoglobin level
The school screening was conducted with the assistance of medical staff from the Madisi Catholic Hospital. The hospital assisted the church with nurses, environmental health workers, community health surveillance assistance. Community Health Evangelists (CHEs) were also part of the screening for continuity of care.
Catholic hospital staff
“It is our irresponsibility and the government responsibility to conduct school health screening programs at least twice a year, but we do not make it because of lack of resources. Now that the church is here, we have to support it”, said Gift Mhango, a nurse from the Hospital.
The hospital de-wormed all the 625 children with albendazole.
The headmaster Mr Msinjeni taking the medical staff to senior classrooms for de-worming
“We have never had a school screening program at this school. It is the first time to have it. We are really privileged and we do not take this for granted”, said Mr Msinjeni, the headmaster .
Medical staff ready to distribute Albendazole in one of the classroom
On the day of giving feedback to the community, women brought their babies to be screened as well. A total of 265 babies were screened on this day.
Mothers cuing with their babies to be screened
Part of Katengeza School pupils during the feedback session
Man and local chiefs were part of the feedback session
Katengeza school pupils listening to the feedback
Most of the school pupils were found with skin conditions. Some showed signs and symptoms of malaria who were referred to the nearest government health center for proper management. Some had malnutrition and were refereed to the United Methodist nutrition clinic located in Madisi.
The school formed a health club for the pupils to educate each other on health issues.
By Mercy Chikhosi Nyirongo