The Kathmandu Post
HETAUDA, The “One School, One Nurse” programme launched by Province 3 last year has proved to be effective in community schools, according to stakeholders.
The Social Development Ministry had initiated the programme in 20 community schools of 13 districts last year with an objective to provide emergency medical services, and reproductive health and sex education to students. Under the programme, a medical nurse is assigned to each community school selected for the programme in Province 3. The ministry has decided to extend the programme to 119 community schools in the current fiscal year.
Purna Prasad Duwadi, the headmaster of Chitwan-based Narayani Model Secondary School, said that the programme has been a success at his school with absenteeism among students due to minor illnesses showing a decline. Additionally, having a trained medical nurse in the school helped students talk about their problems and seek counselling.
“Around 50 students had shown signs of depression in our school. Young students don’t usually open up to teachers but they feel at ease talking to the nurse. As many as 10 girl students harbouring suicidal thoughts received timely intervention from our school nurse,” Duwadi said.
Teachers, guardians, and students alike have come together to request the provincial government to launch the programme in every community school in the province. There are 1,350 community schools in the province.
Jitendra Yadav, whose son attends Aadhunik Rastriya Madhyamik Vidhyalaya in Hetauda, said, “My son preferred to stay home even when he suffered from minor illnesses like common cold, cough and gastrointestinal problems. Now he doesn’t mind going to school-he feels safe at school since he can go to the nurse if he feels unwell.”
The Social Development Ministry has arranged a bed, some essential medical tools and medicines in schools where the programme is run.
Besides providing medical care to students, Karuna Shrestha, a nurse at Aadhunik Rastriya Madhyamik Vidhyalaya, also runs classes on sanitation, health, menstruation, reproductive health and food habits for the students. “Every day, as many as 30 students come to me seeking medical help and counselling,” Shrestha said.
Ram Kiran Sah, a high schooler at the same school, said that the deployment of a nurse in the school has been a welcome move.
“We get instant medical care when we need it. Such programmes should be continued in not just our school but in all other schools as well,” Sah said.
According to Social Development Minister Yuvaraj Dulal, the programme will be launched in one community school of each local unit in the province from this fiscal year. In the next two years, the programme will be extended to all community schools in the province, he added.
Last year, the programme was launched in two schools of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Makwanpur, Sindhupalchok, Chitwan, Nuwakot and Dhading districts while one school each was selected in Sindhuli, Dolakha, Rasuwa, Ramechhap, Kavre and Bhaktapur districts, the ministry said.
The ministry also said that private schools will be directed to run the programme by appointing medical nurses themselves from the current fiscal year.