Wednesday afternoon at 4:12 pm on the first of September 2009, at the Government Administration Building in the Claude Wathey Legislative Hall, there was a presentation by the Preventative Health Department for the principals of all schools on the school programs of Youth Health Care.
These programs are the dental and vaccination & screening. In addition the changes in the vaccination schedules were also discussed.
All schools and all children no matter their status are eligible for this program. A total of 23 principals were supposed to come however 12 came representing 15 schools. There were also representatives of 2 school boards present.
In addition, there was the handing out of certificates to principals of schools who were able to improve in the collaboration efforts with the Preventive Health Department part of Sector Public Health, Social Development, and Labor.
Commissioner Hyacinth Richardson was present to make a statement and to hand the certificates over to the participants who improved in the collaboration program.
Commissioner Richardson made the following statement:
"Promoting and ensuring the growth and development of the youth from birth through 17 years of age is one of the major objectives of Section Youth Health Care. The Youth Health Care School Program 2008 – 2009 is a befitting initiative reflecting the concern of the general health aspect of our youth. As such, the health and general well-being of our youngsters must always be our number one priority.
We are as a society becoming more aware of the numerous infectious deceases impacting the health and well-being of the more vulnerable groups within our society.
As Commissioner of Health, a person, and father I have also noted and understood the importance of creating and endorsing programs which are beneficial to our children; for example the Dental Program and the Vaccination Program initiatives of Section Youth Health Care was approved in the Executive Council this year.
Today school principals, representatives, programs coordinators, nurses and commissioners have come together to promote the significance of a few of these programs and the respective results these programs have yielded at the participating schools throughout the island.
I understand that these programs are a continuous labor of love as the level of participation in the past has not always demonstrated the necessary involvement needed to accomplish such a monumental task. Let it be known, that I have (asked) beckoned all persons involved in promoting and ensuring the growth and development of the youth to be more conscientious of the importance of the programs that will be presented today and active in the further development of the vaccination process.
Congratulations to all schools that have showed significant progress and all schools that performed well in the programs. I know that it would not be presumptuous to state that I along with Section Youth Health Care and Section Policy Epidemiology and Prevention look forward to a healthy working relationship with all parties involved in our utmost desire to improve and strengthen the health care system for our youngsters on the island by creating, stimulating and endorsing more polices and programs for the upcoming school year 2009-2010."
The presentation was about the goals of Youth Health Care (YHC), and its programs: Dental, Vaccination and Screening.
The aim of the section YHC is to promote and ensure the growth and development of the youth from birth through 17 years of age. In addition to that:
1. to develop policy regarding youth health care;
2. to advise on youth health care issues;
3. to establish periodic assessment of newborns and toddlers;
4. to execute periodic assessment of children in group 2 and group 6/7;
5. to execute the youth dental care program;
6. to implement paramedical support services for the school-age child; and
7. to execute prevention and information programs.
Concerning the vaccination program, Mrs. Mayra Martina explained the details to the principals present, namely:
} The vaccination program is meant for the youth from birth through 17 years of age.
} The program is executed by the White and Yellow Cross, 2 family physicians and the pediatrician for the 2 months to 4 years old child
} The section YHC vaccinates children from 4 through 17 years of age in the schools and at the YHC offices.
} The vaccination program is based on the vaccination policy that went into effect on April 10th 2000 and has recently been adjusted in order to ensure that children up to 12 months receive the required vaccinations. With the change we will be more in line with the other islands in the Caribbean.
} Vaccines are provided and administered* free of charge.
} The Island Government pays for all vaccines mentioned in the vaccine policy.
} Schools receive a request for the school list every year in a letter that provides information on all the school programs from the YHC.
} On receiving the school list YHC verifies the vaccination status of the child and sends out a consent letter via the school if the child needs a vaccination.
} Upon receipt of consent and vaccination records YHC plans vaccination in school and returns the vaccination records.
} YHC needs the school list early in the school year to be able to send out consent forms.
} The child’s vaccination data are entered into the data base, the filing system of the YHC and on the child’s vaccination records.
} A vaccine contains a weak or dead "germ" of a disease.
} By giving a person a vaccination, the germ will enter the body which in its turn will make antibodies against that particular disease.
} Antibodies provide immunity.
} A population is protected when 90% of its people are vaccinated.
} The school list is used to identify the children eligible for screening.
} Consent forms and questionnaires are sent home and collected via the school.
} A brochure with explanation on the screening program is provided to parents.
} Information is asked on family health history, delivery, school and social development.
} In addition the height, weight, vision, general health and development.
} Parents must give consent for the screening.
} In the screening program children 5/6 years old and 9/10 years old get a nursing evaluation.
} The parents of the younger children are present during the evaluation but not for the older children.
} Referrals are made for those children who need further evaluation
} As of this coming school year the program will be up and running again.
} The 5th and 6th grade or group 7 and 8 will receive assessments and treatments if needed with the objective to ensure that by the time they enter secondary school they continue practicing healthy dental and oral hygiene.
} Other grades/groups will receive dental and oral health educational sessions
For more information, please call 542-2078/ 5423553 or 543-3003, or email: se********@ya***.com.