The school health service is defined as “the school procedures that contribute to the maintenance and improvement of the health of pupils and school personnel including health services healthful living and health education”.
But to speak the truth our school hardly ever has a well defined health programme incidentally the teaching about health is done while treating other subjects of the curriculum -such as physiology, hygiene and biology. The approach to these subjects is so academic that they are considered to be important from the ‘examination point of view’ and have very little effect on actual health practices and attitudes.
But in general, health education should be integrated with all the activities in the -curriculum. It should be a part and parcel of the chili’s daily life. It must include the whole life of the child taking in to consideration his relationship with the school community as well as the community outside the school.
Objectives of School Health Education:
The objectives of the school health education are as follows:
(i) The promotion of positive health;
(ii) The prevention of diseases;
(iii) Early diagnosis, treatment and follow up of defects;
(iv) Awakening health consciousness in children:
However, the objectives of school health service can be achieved through a comprehensive school health programme comprising the following activities:
(i) Health appraisal of school children and school personnel;
(ii) Co-operation with the home and the community;
(iii) Healthful school environment;
(iv) Prevention of communicable diseases;
(v) Nutritional services;
(vi) First aid and emergency care;
(vii) Psychological services;
(viii) Use of school health records;
(ix) Remedial measures and follow up;
(x) Health instruction;
The health appraisal should cover not only the students but also the teachers and other school personnel. Health appraisal consists of periodic medical examinations and observation of children by the class teacher.
The School Health Committee (1%1) in India, recommended medical examination of children at the time of entry and thereafter every four years. So one of the most important means of taking care of the physical well being of the school children is through systematic medical inspection of schools.
Generally it is seen that most of the students in the school suffer from many preventable diseases such as defective teeth, bad sight, deafness, anemia etc. but such diseases adversely affect the learning capacity of the students and cause ill health.
Medical inspection is only the initial step in a great scheme of progress which involves the improvement of not only the physical but the mental and moral development of the children. Although the system of school medical inspection has been in existence for a number of years, yet the outcome of the result have not been satisfactory for the following reasons as pointed out by Secondary Education commission.
(i) The medical inspection has been done in a perfunctory manner;
(ii) The defects that have been brought out even by this type of examination have not been remedied because the remedial measures suggested are often not carried out;
(iii) There is no follow-up, even in the case of those who have been declared as defective;
(iv) Effective co-operation has not been established between the school authorities and the parents, either due to ignorance or due to lack of financial resources or reports of the school medical officers.
Unless and until the present system is improved considerably, it would be a mere waste of time and money to continue this type of medical inspection in the urban areas in most schools there is provision for medical inspection of students.
But in rural areas no such provision is available for students. In Western countries, the medical inspection of children is a regular feature of the school. However for making the medical inspection meaningful the following factors should be taken in to account:
(i) A thorough medical examination of all pupils and necessary follow-up and treatment where necessary, should be carried out in all schools;
(ii) Pupils with serious defects and those who suffer from severe illness should be examined more frequently;
(iii) Medical examination should be given to teachers and other school personnel as they form a part of the environment to which the child is exposed;
(iv) The teacher is in a unique position to carry out the ‘daily inspection’ as he is familiar with the children and can detect changes in the child appearance or behavior that suggest illness or improper growth or development;
The systematic medical examination which has been described above should be supplemented by daily inspection. This inspection must be made especially on the child’s entry in the school premises in the morning and any lapse from the normal should be noted and endeavour should be made to have these corrected. The inspection suggested here can be made in a few moments, while the pupils assemble in the’ morning and in the same manner matters pertaining to cleanliness and neatness may also be noticed.