SCORE Assists Schools with Setting Up Health Rooms and Added Healthcare Among Schoolchildren

By Kathya de Silva Senarath

The Ministry of Health has instructed schools to take necessary steps to ensure basic precautionary measures against COVID-19. Among its many guidelines, the ministry recommends  setting up separate  health rooms at schools for isolation and related care when necessary.

However, schools in marginalized areas have limited capacities to set up health rooms. There is a lack of proper equipment and beds to care for students in emergency situations. And even though some schools may have health rooms, many lack the proper equipment to provide good healthcare.

SCORE supported 120 schools in the SCORE target districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Moneragala, Batticaloa, and Ampara to set up health rooms. SCORE also supported Gampaha schools considering the high risk of virus spread in the area. Sick room beds, mattresses, first aid kits, portable screens, and water dispensers were the items provided. The distribution was carried out with the support of the Provincial Ministries of Education. The first health room was ceremonially opened in Keerimalai Naguleswara Vidyalayam in the Jaffna district on November 30.

In addition to delivering emergency care, students can find the body mass index by measuring the weight and height at the health rooms. They can also check their vision with the equipment provided by the school executive committees.

As the health room opening transpired  during the period marking 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, a student delivered a speech at the ceremony on problems faced by young girls. During the prefects’ investiture ceremony that followed, both male and female students took an oath to raise a voice and oppose all kinds of violence against women.

Dr. A. Ketheeswaran, Provincial Director of Health Services, Northern Province said: “In addition to delivering emergency care for students, the school now enables students to become aware of their overall wellness with the equipment donated to measure weight and height, their vision, etc.”

“This support from SCORE is timely and beneficial for schools to make available the health facilities for children,” said L. Ilaangovan, Secretary, Ministry of Education, Northern Province.

T. Thayananthan, School Principal said: “Grateful to USAID/SCORE for this timely and much needed support during this health crisis. This is an opportunity for students to learn and change their healthcare habits to fight disease spread.” 

SCORE-supported schools in marginalized areas for service delivery by capacitating them to respond to emergency situations during the pandemic and care for their students. Schoolchildren now have a better healthcare system at schools which gives them the confidence to get help.

Region: Asia, Sri Lanka
Area of expertise: Global Health, Covid-19, Youth