Patmos School Health Checks by local doctor
On the 2nd and 3rd April, 2019, a local doctor in Mathare, Dr. Daniel Okal Busela, carried out health checks on a total of 134 children from Patmos School and administered a course of de-worming tablets as well as oral vitamin supplements to the children. The doctor indicated that in general the health of the majority of the children was quite good. However, 18 children were found to be suffering from medical conditions including malaria, URTIs and fungal infections. The children received treatment for those conditions and will be closely monitored by the doctor in the coming days and weeks.
Dr Dan has been supporting the school for the past six years and under the School Health Programme (SHP) he has provided the children with half yearly health checks, de-worming treatments and oral vitamin supplements.
His small medical clinic has been serving the people of Mathare for over 20 years and he is a well- respected member of the community. Most clinics in Mathare are only open for limited periods each day and are closed at the weekend. Dr. Dan’s clinic is open for long periods each day and remains open at the weekends providing a good service for the children and local people. The clinic is located in the Mathare 4B District and he operates the clinic from a small rented house which has only very basic equipment and a limited supply of drugs. Because of the lack of medical facilities he is only able to treat minor illnesses and offer an outpatients service for his patients. Dr Dan is assisted at the clinic by one nurse.
Intestinal worm infections including hookworm, whipworm, roundworm and schistosomiasis are among the world’s most widespread diseases, with roughly one in four people infected. School age children have the highest infection prevalence of any group. Although light worm infections are often asymptomatic, more intense infections can lead to lethargy, anemia, malnutrition and growth stunting. Treating worm infections also appears to strengthen children’s immunological response to other infections, potentially producing broader health benefits in regions with high tropical disease burdens.
Evidence has shown that treating children for worms - which affect an estimated 600 million school-aged children worldwide - improves school attendance, health, and long-term productivity. Oral deworming drugs are extremely effective at killing most varieties of worms with a single does, at a cost of a few pence. Rapid infection means that the drugs must be taken every 6 - 12 months to keep worm infections at bay.
Deworming treatment is not only highly effective and inexpensive, it is easy to administer through schools and can bring benefit to children years after treatment.
Among interventions that have been rigorously tested by randomized evaluations, school-based deworming is one of the most cost-effective means of increasing school attendance and improving health in areas where intestinal worms are endemic. It can also result in large gains in earnings and living standards years after children receive treatment.
Over the last six years Dr Dan has provided health checks and deworming treatments for the children at Patmos School on a 6 monthly basis. The funds for this Healthcare Programme are donated by two UK supporters.