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PHCC Implements Growth Charts and Visual Acuity Test Programs in Public Schools

22 Mar 2023

Growth pic

The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) announced the implementation of annual growth charts and visual acuity test programs in all public schools in the country, in cooperation and prior coordination with the Non-communicable Diseases Department at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).

PHCC stated that the application of the World Health Organization’s growth charts program targets all public school students from the first to 12th grade on an annual basis, pointing out that the program aims to provide a database and build a surveillance system to monitor the growth of school students, and early detection of cases of growth disorders that may be related to the diet or lifestyle in general, which is represented in weight loss or short stature on the one hand, or weight gain and obesity on the other hand. In addition to referring these cases to PHCC health centers for follow-up and treatment, to prevent obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

The School Health Department succeeded in completing the implementation of health surveys for the two programs of growth plans and examination of visual acuity, and the completion of all procedures and requirements necessary for their implementation. The results showed huge progress: the number of those targeted in the growth plans program reached 93,218 male and female students, and 92,984 male and female students were examined, with a rate of 98.1 percent, PHCC said.

It noted that the results of the health surveys of the growth charts program showed that approximately 8,226 students have a defect in their growth indicators, and it was found that 43,000 suffer from short stature problems, 6,817 suffer from obesity problems and 463 suffer from thinness and underweight problems, explaining that all these students were transferred to health centers to be followed up by doctors specializing in this field and to receive the necessary medical care.

PHCC explained that the visual acuity test program, implemented annually among school students from grade one to 9th grade, aims at early detection of cases of weakness and defects in visual acuity among students, as school health nursing has received theoretical and practical training on appropriate methods and the health requirements followed in examining visual acuity, in addition to the mechanism of electronic documentation and the proper transfer of cases discovered for students who suffer from a vision rate less than normal and transferring them to the ophthalmology clinic and the optometry clinic of PHCC in order to dispense medical glasses and provide them with appropriate treatment.

As for the implementation of the visual acuity test program, PHCC revealed that the number of targeted students reached 50,065 students, as the visual acuity was measured for 48,923 male and female students at a rate of 97.8 percent, indicating that the results of the surveys revealed 6, 256 male and female students, which constitutes a rate of 12.8 percent, suffer from poor visual acuity, and 99.6 percent of the detected students were transferred to PHCC health centers for follow-up and to receive the necessary medical care.

Out of keenness to achieve the goals of the program and with the joint cooperation with the MoPH, a training workshop was organized for all school health nurses on how to use devices that measure indicators of growth and body mass indexes recommended by the World Health Organization, PHCC said.

PHCC confirmed that it was able, through the health files system, to follow up and track the implementation stages of the two programs accurately and effectively, in cooperation with PHCC’s Department of Health Information Systems.