One doctor for 1,145 students

DUBAI — Public schools in Dubai and the Northern Emirates have only 11 doctors for every 12,592 students, according to a school health report. The report also calls for deployment of full time health employees to ensure better care and support to students.


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Sun 25 Mar 2012, 3:37 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:44 PM

According to the report, other than the total 121 doctors, 261 part time and 299 full time nurses are employed in 419 public schools with 138,510 students; (64,309 boys and 74,201girls).

The ministry also runs nine central clinics and 408 school health clinics under its School Health Programme in these schools.

The annual School Health Report 2010-2011 issued by the health ministry on Sunday recommends the need to provide support, resources, needs, equipments and machines for the betterment of students. Also, a total of 289 private schools with 176,603 students (92,903 boys and 83,700 girls) are located in the Northern Emirates. The Ministry of Education looks over the working of the private schools in these areas.

“The general goal of such services in schools is to raise the health standards of students through preventive and treatment services, control infectious diseases, provide vaccinations and early screenings of diseases in schools,” said Dr Mahmoud Fikri, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Policies at the ministry.

The programme covers eight topics including psychiatric consultancy services, social support, nutrition and physical education among others to students from charitable schools, technology institutes, higher colleges of technology and sometimes private schools.

Dr Mariam Al Matroushi, Director of Health Legislations Department and Supervisor of School Health Programmes in the ministry, said that positive results had been achieved in public schools. “We have raised the health standards of students by organising early screening programmes and providing treatment for ill cases.”

“To improve the psychiatric school health and nutrition services, there must be full time health employees who are the best people to give these students care and support,” said the report.

Chicken pox

Majority of children suffered from chicken pox during the past school year while one case of polio was also reported, according to the school health report.

A total of 954 students suffered some sort of illness of which 838 (87 per cent) suffered from chicken pox. The remaining were found to be suffering from a number of other infectious diseases including worm infestations, scabies, mumps, measles, hepatitis A&B, genital diseases as well as food poisoning.

Last week, the Ministry of Health introduced a vaccine for chicken pox in the national immunisation programme to reduce the socioeconomic burden impact of the disease.

A total of 29,874 students from classes 1, 5 and 9 were checked for non-infectious diseases of which 2,934 were found to be obese; 2,033 suffered from optical refraction disorders; 1,402 from asthma; 1,295 from malnutrition and 1,276 from anemia.

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