Essays from Uganda

HEALTH CARE AT MY SCHOOL in Uganda  by Walasana Emmanuel

In this piece of my writing, I express the state of health at my school. My name is Walasana Emmanuel. I am a male, aged eleven and in Primary Six.  I love studying and my future study destiny is being a health care worker, preferably in a school or any other institution to help students or pupils.

We are currently out of school due to Covid 19 pandemic but I feel relieved and safe with my life in terms of health welfare. As much as I love studying from my school too. There are some factors like failure to get better health services while at school which worry me. My friends and I have always found it difficult to settle in school well since in most cases our studies are always disturbed by lack of good health services majorly because of our sickbay being in poor conditions.

A sickbay should have been that place we call our hospital at the school setting. It should have been that place where most of our health concerns are addressed. Why then should my school sickbay be the source of some of my health problems? How good is it for a believer to fear paradise? At first I loved visiting the sickbay for the basic health care like getting painkillers, anti-malaria drugs, flu treatment and simple blood tests. To my dismay, none of the above has ever been successfully handled. Did you know that pupils in my school fear the sickbay more than any other place? Some of the challenges are as explained below.

Inadequate facilities like few beds make it difficult for the sickbay to contain us. Falling sick cannot be time tabled. What is the possibility of thirty patients sharing four beds? This is unbelievable but true. I well know that a bed is meant for one patient at a time. This problem makes other children and I unsafe at school as it instead exposes us to other unhealthy conditions.

Each and every one would feel happy knowing the conditions they are being treated for. The absence of test kits for malaria and other illnesses has always made our nurse medicate us by her choice not by condition. She imagines the sickness and she offers the best she can. Maybe she had a microscope and test kits, her work would be easy. This would make her independent at her work and hence work with enough evidence. Learners would also have more hope in her and in return trust the sick bay with her lives. If only my pocket money was enough, I would contribute it to our school to buy a microscope because our nurse needs it. It is one of the tools she studied to use and I feel she is incomplete without it. Imagine transporting test samples to other health centres for testing. This puts the life of our nurse at risk and at the same time it delays our effective treatment. Every school sickbay should have a simple laboratory with all the simple equipment not forgetting my “wish” a microscope.

The limited space at my sickbay is yet another problem that makes it unsafe for me and other children. Different children come from different homes with different diseases. The congestion at the sickbay has always been a worry. Boys and girls in the same rest room, not good enough. Imagine putting together patients of measles, malaria, flu, chicken pox, diarrhoea, dysentery, wounds etc. This provides a suitable environment for the breeding of germs, infection and re-infection. In addition there is no privacy. My science teacher told me that hospitals have different wards in order to promote privacy and limit the spread of infections or diseases among the patients. At my school, the sickbay is a source of all troubles. You visit with malaria and at the end of the day you harvest flu and others. Should I visit my sickbay for health care anymore given that such conditions still exist?

We have resorted to self-medication while at school, which practice puts us at risk of over or under dose since we don’t have enough knowledge on medicines. The conditions at our sickbay need to be improved as soon as possible. The mentioned conditions above make us fear to go to the sickbay but instead smuggle some drugs with us into the school for use at our own time.

Our teachers who are our parents at school have not taken enough follow up on our health care at school. Teachers should work together with our nurse so as to ensure our welfare. The bad working conditions at the sickbay require a joint effort. Our nurse is helpless and feels abandoned.

We all have to agree that one nurse cannot effectively handle too many children. As we are many, we need more than one nurse so as to attend to all the children with different health problems.

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