The University of Fiji is calling on the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health to work together to place a nurse in each school in Fiji for better prevention of health and social problems and to assist with educational achievement.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Shaista Shameem says school children needed to have nurses specially dedicated to their physical and mental health needs as a preventative strategy.
Professor Shameem says confining health services only to health problems that need treatment in district health centres where nurses are currently located does not help children achieve better at school.
She also says the University is currently reviewing its nursing curriculum and seeking strategies to introduce relevant subjects to provide its graduate nurses with a school-based healthcare focus.
This will give the University’s nursing graduates an edge when they seek employment in public health, especially for remote communities in Fiji.
Professor Shameem says schools and society are not creating happy and healthy 18 years olds due to lack of appropriate health education in schools.
She says it would be obvious to teachers that children with health and nutrition issues are usually the same children who under-achieve at school.
The Vice Chancellor says having a nurse appointed in each school would not only take care of treatment of illnesses but these nurses would also be able to see whether children are getting enough food at home, whether they face mental health issues impacting on educational performance, and the overall well-being of children with respect to homelife for example whether there is any violence or abuse and other social problems.
She says the University will use its best efforts to ensure that government sees placement of nurses in schools as a priority to secure the best health and education outcomes for the next generation.
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