n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Improving children's health through school-based screening : a case study from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces of South Africa and physical activity - : health and physical activity

Volume 21 Number 1.1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Children in Grade R and Grade 1 were screened for eyesight and ophthalmological health, weight and height, and examined for lymphadenopathy, skin conditions, pallor and general health. The premise of the screening initiative was that certain key health issues acted as barriers to learning in children, and that these were the issues which were addressed in the implementation of the project. Results show a significant improvement in the percentage of pupils immunized and in pupils' nutritional status, a marked difference in terms of overall skin and hair hygiene, improvements in ophthalmological health (particularly notable in a reduction in cases of conjunctivitis), and some improvement in terms of administration of on-site service (in the form of anti-fungal creams and other medicines). These results, while it is impossible to link them solely to the intervention, correlate strongly with the qualitative data of observed change as a result of the health screening. In the qualitative data, a number of recurrent themes or discussions emerged in response to the questions asked: pre-existing health problems, effects of those health problems on learning, issues around access to health-care, psycho-social problems in the community, effects of the health screening on health and on learning, problems with the process of health screening, and suggestions for improvement. Health screening had a positive effect on the pupils, particularly in the areas of ophthalmological health and hygiene.

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