I would like to share with you a few thoughts from Nurse Heather who has made an invaluable contribution to the school during her stay.
Heather with Destiny
"The links between poverty, health and educational performance are well known. Since most of the children attending Holy Cross Anglican School come from disadvantaged homes, I was delighted to observed (and be part of) the measures being implemented to improve their overall health.
The children who attend Holy Cross are given a healthy breakfast, a fruit snack mid-morning and a balanced lunch, free of charge. This ensures that there is no barrier to good nutrition and learning during the school day. I see happy, bright eyed children enjoying their classes.
A volunteer dental team recently examined all the children who attend the school. Dental work commenced on the large number of children in need of care and will continue as the dental team visits again in November. The children were taught preventative dental care and given a toothbrush and toothpaste. The stickers and toys were a big hit too.
During the dental visit at the local Poly Clinic, I was able to weigh and measure the Infant I students and found that the majority of these children were at or below the 25th percentile compared to other children in their age and ethnic group.
All students will be given daily multivitamins and receive de-worming medications, and we expect that when they are reexamined at the end of the year, that they will have gained weight and grown taller.
As is commonly the case in all schools, Holy Cross has a number of children with behavior problems. They will be assessed by a volunteer psychologist and she will work with the family and child to improve the child's learning ability.
One of the benefits of having a volunteer nurse around is that I have time to observe the children from a health point of view while the teachers are busy with instruction. A very unhappy tiny little girl came to my attention, when she was having such a crying fit that we all noticed her. As I comforted her, her poor state of health became clear to me. She coughed continuously, had low energy, ate poorly and clung to me continuously.
Francis and I were able to get her assessed and she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She is now under treatment and is starting to look like an energetic six year old should.
What comes first, good education or good health, I say they go hand in hand at Holy Cross. God bless all of you who have supported this fine school."
Labels: Guest blogger