Public health interventions including the ongoing deworming exercise, vaccinations and oral hygiene have had an impact on the lives of learners in public schools.
The Nakuru County Director for Public Health, Mrs. Elizabeth Kiptoo, said public health programs prolong life through detection of health issues as early as possible and respond appropriately to avoid development of diseases.
Giving examples of the National School-Based Deworming Program (NSBD), which is carried by both the Ministry of Education and Health, she said it has protected millions of school going children who would be at risk of contracting intestinal worms.
She noted that intestinal worms affect the children’s nutrition that may lead to stunted growth, learning incapacity and increased absence from school that might eventually contribute to lower graduation grades.
She said a recent study conducted by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), showed that the NSBD has been highly effective in reducing worm infections in the country.
Kiptoo noted that between the year 2012 and 2018, the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths, decreased by 62 percent amongst the children sampled in the study.
In addition, she said there was a need for intensive public health interventions in schools to identify learners with poor eye-sight, hearing, and poor oral hygiene because they all contribute to the positive outcomes for learners and make schooling an enjoyable experience.
Also, she said prompt public health surveillance has always proved beyond doubt that it was more effective than the costly treatment of preventable diseases.
She added that when public health identifies issues that lead to poor health such as unclean water, contaminated air, scabies and poor nutrition, communities stay healthy and tend to contribute more to their countries development. She was speaking today during a meeting with Ward Public Health Officers in Nakuru town.