For the first time Sector Health Care Affairs (SHCA) Preventive Health Department Section Youth Health Care, presented certificates to schools that had an ‘improved,’ ‘good,’ or ‘best,’ participation in the elementary school health programs of school year 2007/08.
Last week Friday the results of the vaccination and screening program for school years 2006/07 and 2007/08 from all the schools together were presented first and each representative of the schools present received the results of their school separately.
The results of the health screening program indicated that approximately 15 per cent of the five-year olds are overweight and 24 per cent of the 10-year olds.
Head of the Preventive Health Department Dr. Rachel Eersel who presented the data at the Milton Peters College last Friday, pointed out that the Preventive Health Department is already giving health education sessions on the topic of nutrition in the schools and is busy developing a school nutrition and physical education policy to tackle this problem to prevent other health related problems due to being overweight in the future.
During a question and answer session, the involvement of parents, schools, and teachers were discussed to improve participation in the programs in addition to the question of mandatory vaccinations on enrollment in school.
"Government will continue to work diligently with all concerned in order to have a complete system in place that protects the health of the nation, such as a nutritional and physical education policy for especially young children within the educational system," Commissioner of Public Health Maria Buncamper-Molanus told the Government Information Service (GIS).
"Although there has been an improvement in the vaccination program over the years, the overall results show that the goal of 95% coverage to ensure protection against vaccine preventable diseases is not yet reached in the vaccination program.
"This is mainly due to parents who are still uncooperative in either giving information on their child’s vaccination status or giving permission on vaccinating when needed.
"There are still of number of ‘no information’ children in the vaccination database. This means that the Preventive Health Department has no information on the vaccination status of these children attending and living on the island of St. Maarten. I would also like to use this opportunity to thank MPC for the use of their teacher’s lounge last week Friday," Head of the Preventive Health Department Dr. Rachel Eersel told the GIS.
The following schools were selected for improved participation: Prins Willem Alexander, Marie G. de Weever, Charles Leopold Bell, Zr. Borgia and the Dr. M. Luther King Jr. School.
The schools present were presented their certificates by the Commissioner of Education, Sarah Wescot-Williams. Schools received a ‘good’ participation if the school had less than five per cent of ‘no consent’ and ‘no info’ for two vaccines given in the school and the school with the lowest percentage of ‘no consent’ and ‘no info’ received the ‘best’ participation.
There were 11 out of the 29 schools who received this certificate, which was presented by the Commissioner of Public Health, Maria Buncamper-Molanus who congratulated all schools present on a job well done.
The following schools were selected for this certificate: Zr. Marie Laurence, M.A.C. John E. Gumbs, M.A.C. Browlia Millard Campus, Dr. M. Luther King Jr., Hillside Christian, Sr. Magda, St. Joseph, Oranje and Seventh Day Adventist school. The Zr. Marie Laurence School was selected as the ‘best’ participation.
The schools that weren’t present for the presentation on Friday can contact Section Youth Health Care, Vineyard Office Park Building, telephone 542-3003 or 23553 to collect their school results of the vaccination and screening program and certificates.