School Health Program
The Community health program is about working as a team to reach the most remote areas and people. Project Medishare’s “Sante Scolaire” (School Health) program was recently rolled out in the remote area of Haiti’s Central Plateau. This program targets children of primary school age and provides both a health screening as well as health education to ensure kids remain healthy so they can stay in school.
This year, the School Health Program is excited to have 3rd year pediatric residents from a new residency program. This residency program is run in a partnership with St. Damien’s and Hospital Bernard Mevs under the direction of Dr. Toni Eyssallenne. The Residents are rotating from Port-au-Prince to help design and implement the program. Dr. Joelle Denis, the 1st resident to rotate for the 2015-2016 school year, opened the program at the Petit Papillon (Little Butterfly) school in Thomonde. Petit Papillon is also the site of a school lunch program operated by Medishare, which offers a balanced meal daily to 135 students at the school.
Dr. Joelle Denis saw 35 students on the first day, checking children for signs of malnutrition and common childhood infections. A few children were referred to Medishare’s nearby clinic for follow-up. As part of this rotation she is learning both the challenges of working in remote areas and how to design and assess programs in Haiti’s rural departments. As a qualified pediatrician following exams in the Spring of 2015 she will be trained both in trauma care and community health, assuring she is well-equipped to treat a wide range of conditions in a country with very few pediatricians.
In addition to a health screening, the schools will receive chlorine monthly for cleaning and purifying drinking water. For the first time, this chlorine will be made in a nearby plant operated by Project Medishare staff. Due to the continuing cases of Cholera during rainy periods, this distribution provides schools with a way to keep their students healthy.
During school health screenings, Medishare health agents teach students about the importance of hand washing and hygiene and assist the physicians in weighing children and distributing Albendezole (de-worming medication) and Vitamin A.
Medishare’s doctors, nurses, health agents, logistics staff and teachers continue to make sure this program maximizes the reach across three communes which have 49,000 children enrolled in school. Please consider donating to the Pediatric Residency Program to further support access to pediatric care in the Central Plateau.