Minister Theuns Botha (left) examines how he and his colleagues, Minister Donald Grant (centre) and CEO of the Health Foundation Michael Manning, will bring fully-equipped medical buses to more children in need of healthcare to their door step.
WESTERN CAPE NEWS - Learners in schools in the Western Cape will benefit from a mobile service launched by the Western Cape Health Department in collaboration with the Education Department.
Five state-of-the-art mobile units will be visiting schools across the province to screen Grade R and Grade 1 learners, particularly in poor and rural areas, for conditions that may require medical treatment. "The mobile units will also provide preventive dental care to learners, which has the potential to significantly reduce dental cavities in the province," said Western Cape Health Minister Theuns Botha.
"Professional health staff will man the mobile units, who will undertake the screening of the learners and provide diagnostic assessment and treatment options as required. Referral to health facilities will be ensured where necessary. "A typical school health screening will include assessing of learners' vision and hearing; ear, eye and skin examinations; testing of gross and fine motor skills, mental health, speech, tuberculosis and oral health screening.
The Health Department has budgeted R11,5-million for the five mobile units for the payment of staff, fuel and other consumables and the Education Department has allocated R12,5-million, which will cover the cost of leasing the mobile service. This will include the driver/operator, vehicles, equipment, maintenance and support.
The first five mobile units are planned to hit the roads by mid-2014.
"The screening of learners is a key element in our wellness strategy to reduce illness and bring about a healthier society. We can no longer afford to construct more hospitals and provide more chronic medication. The solution lies in detecting disease earlier and that is why we are targeting our young children first where the benefits of preventing disease are the greatest." He asked that the private sector come on board in a partnership agreement to help develop and sponsor the wellness mobile unit concept, possibly through 'co-branding'.
Western Cape Education Minister Donald Grant said that this investment in child healthcare will have many benefits for education. "The various screening tests will identify if the child has any disabilities or challenges that may have not been diagnosed and could limit their school performance."
Minister Theuns Botha examines how he and his colleagues, Minister Donald Grant and the Health Foundation CEO Michael Manning, will bring fully-equipped medical buses to more children in need of health care to their doorstep.