Evaluating School Health Appraisal scheme in Primary Schools within Abakaliki metropolis, Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
Background: Ill health constitutes a potential major limiting factor in the educational progress of any child. Some studies have noted a high prevalence of diseases and disability among apparently well school children. Appraisal of the health of school pupils/staff is necessary to optimise learning. Objectives: This study assessed school health appraisal implementation in primary schools within Abakaliki Metropolis. Materials and Methods: This was a cross sectional descriptive study of the forms of health appraisal in all 31 primary schools in Abakaliki metropolis. Relevant information was obtained from the head teacher in each school and scored using a validated evaluation scale. Data was analysed using the SPSS 13 with the level of significance set at p <0.05. Results: Out of the 31 primary schools, 16 were public while 15 were privately owned. All the schools did routine inspection of the pupils. Few (12.9%) requested pre-entry medical examination and those were exclusively private schools, none organised periodic medical examinations for their staff and/or pupils, seven (22.6%) schools practiced referral of pupils to health centers or hospitals, while only two schools supervised the health of the handicapped. The private schools performed relatively better than the public schools especially in pre-entry screening (p=0.027) and referral of cases (p=0.001) Conclusion: Generally, appraisal of the health of school children within the study area is poor and this needs intervention if children are to benefit from the Universal Basic Education.
Keyword: School health services; Appraisal; Primary schools; Abakaliki, Nigeria