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Assessment of institutional health and safety practices of early years schools in Cape Coast Metropolis, Ghana: a mixed methods approach

Salome Amissah-Essel


Objective: Early years schools by their nature present peculiar challenges for infection control and injuries. This study aimed at assessing the health and safety practices of these institutions and find explanations to challenges faced in meeting the recommended standards.
Design: Sequential explanatory mixed methods design was used in the study.
Methods: The quantitative data was collected using a questionnaire. The study involved all early years schools in Cape Coast Metropolis totalling 160. Follow-up interview was conducted using eight Heads and Coordinators of these schools.
Results: Early years schools met majority of the health and safety practices. Chi-square analysis revealed that, school auspices was associated with keeping records of doctor’s report [χ2 (1, N = 160) = 7.27, p = .007, ɸ = .227, odds ratio = 2.79, 95% CI (1.4, 5.7)] and having immunization records up to date [χ2 (1, N = 160) = 4.35, p = .037, ɸ = .184, odds ratio = 2.88, 95% CI (1.2, 7.7)]. Private early years’ schools were almost 3 times likely to meet recommended health and safety practices. Two themes identified as explanations to why most early years schools were not requiring copies of doctor’s reports were: “We don’t bother to ask” and “Rare cases, they do bring”.
Conclusion: Though early years schools were meeting the recommended standards; they were not previewed to doctor’s report of children’s previous illnesses. This implies that these institutions may not be readily prepared to assist in meeting certain health care needs of the children in their care.
Keywords: health, safety, early years schools, Cape Coast Metropolis, Ghana
Funding: None declared