Five primary schools in Turkana Central Sub- County have benefited from a new free integrated medical outreach initiative dubbed Nawiri, organized by the County Department of Health and Sanitation and USAID whose aim is to increase access to medical services and mentorship talks in schools.
The schools, Kang’atotha, Kalokol Mixed, Nakurio, Kangirisae and St Patrick’s Kanamkemer, were officially linked to the nearest health facility whereby the healthcare workers treated the children with minor illnesses and referred others for further diagnosis and treatment. They were also mentored with motivational and health talks.
County School Health Coordinator Ms. Rael Akoru said the school integrated medical outreach seeks to determine if this activity can be regularly conducted with the health facility and school taking the lead.
She further added the outreaches were also in the spirit of universal healthcare (UHC) which states that all people should have access to medical services without incurring financial hardship.
The outreaches were targeting the developmental ages of pre-puberty (9-11 years), puberty (12-14 years) and adolescent (14 to 17 years).
The talks’ topics covered life skills, gender-based violence and reproductive health which include the Human papillomavirus (HPV), menstrual health and hygiene, and sexually transmitted infections.
“This outreach has reinforced the messages we as teachers have been giving to our students in the upper classes, particularly on reproductive health and the prevention of teenage pregnancies,” said Ms. Carolyn Naliaka, the Deputy Head teacher of St Patrick’s Kanamkemer Primary School.
The Kalokol Mixed Primary School head requested the Kalokol Health Centre team to consider having a standby nurse for the boarding students who might require medical services at night.
While the head of Kang’atotha Primary pointed out that illnesses were one of the common reasons for absenteeism and requested for regular outreaches. The team was also able to visit Moi High School (Kalokol) and Nakurio Girls High School (Nakurio).
According to Akoru, the initiative hopes to assist the children in Turkana by shaping their future with easier access to healthcare so that they can focus on their studies.
By Peter Gitonga