The much awaited Integrated School Health Programme (ISHP) was launched on Thursday, 11 October 2012, by President Jacob Zuma, along with Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Deputy Minister of Basic Education Enver Surty in Cullinan, Gauteng.
Strengthening of School Health Services through the ISHP is a key component of the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) Programme within the Department of Basic Education. The Department of Social Development will be responsible for assisting learners to access services, particularly where financial barriers to accessing services are present. This includes providing transport to health facilities where necessary.
Speaking at the launch at Chipa Tabane Secondary School on Thursday, President Zuma said the programme forms part of the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme, which is in line with the World Health Organisation’s call for universal health coverage around the world regardless of people’s economic status.
“We will work through three pillars as part of initiating the NHI – in schools, municipal wards and in districts,” said President Zuma. “Today we are launching the first pillar, health care in schools.”
“In promoting child and youth health we seek to correct a few shortcoming and problems. Firstly, we have to deal with the problem of unhealthy diets and lifestyles.
Secondly, we want to focus on promoting child mental health. Thirdly it is the problem of high teenage pregnancies, which indicates a shortcoming in youth education.”
The Integrated School Health Programme will offer the following services:
- Eyesight, hearing and oral hygiene;
- Immunisation (for foundation and intermediate phases);
- Deworming (for foundation and intermediate phases);
- Treatment of minor conditions especially skin conditions (all phases);
- Counselling on sexual and reproductive health issues and provision of services via mobile health units (all senior and FET learners, and intermediate learners where required); and
- Prevention of drug and alcohol use and abuse.
The ISHP further aims to individually assess every learner once during each of the four educational phases. Additional individual assessments will be offered to all learners who are repeating grades, at the request of an educator or parent or of the learner him/herself.
Assessment during the foundation phase focuses primarily on identifying health barriers to learning, as well as identifying children who have or are at risk for long-term health, psychological or other problems.
Although the ISHP initially targets the most disadvantaged schools, the plan is that it eventually reaches all learners.
Images from the event: