Private schools in Upper East appeal for folic acid tablets
Some private Junior High Schools (JHS) in the Upper East Region have appealed to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to extend the Girls’ Iron and Folic Acid Tablets Supplementation (GIFTS) programme to cover their pupils.
Date Created : 10/24/2023 12:00:00 AM : Story Author : Godfre A. Polkuu/Ghanadistricts.com
The GHS and the Ghana Education Service with support from UNICEF and other development partners, started the GIFTS implementation programme in October 2017 across the 15 Districts and Municipalities in the Region.
The programme ensured that adolescent girls in Junior and Senior High Schools including Technical and Vocational Training Institutions, and adolescent girls not in school were given Iron Folic Acid (IFA) tablets once weekly.
Each tablet contains 60miligrams (mg) of elemental iron and 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid.
In-school adolescent girls took the IFA tablets every Wednesday throughout the term under the supervision of their teachers who were trained for the effective implementation of the programme.
The program targeted adolescent girls aged 10 to 19 years both in school and out of school, and women aged 20 years adopted by the GHS and its partners as one of several actions to reduce the high rates of anaemia in adolescents and women of childbearing age in Ghana.
Madam Patricia Asekabta, the Proprietress of the Nabula School Complex in Sandema, capital of the Builsa North Municipality, said “We the private schools are left out of the program, meanwhile we have girls who menstruate and need the folic acid.
“So if the Ghana Health Service can extend the folic acid tablets to our girls and once a while visit to check up on our pupils to make sure our girls are healthy, it will help them to learn effectively. They are also Ghanaian children,” she said.
Some private schools in Bolgatanga, the Regional capital, to ascertain if the situation was the same, following Madam Asekabta’s appeal, it realized that while some were not aware of such a programme, others were aware but never benefitted.
At the Desert Pastures International School for instance, Mr. Benjamin Dotse, the Head of the Department, JHS, said the school had never benefitted from the programme, and noted that it would be of help if the GHS extended the programme to them.
Similar appeals were made by management of the Great Victory Academy and the Mount Sinai Educational Centre.
However, at the Nadeng-Zein Academy, Alhaji Baba Razak, the Head teacher of the school, said pupils within the age range for the folic acid tablets, had over the years benefitted from the programme.
“For this school, is regularly given. We are under Kumbangre, so the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound in Kumbangre comes with these folic acid tablets to give to our children.
“The last time this school received folic acid was last term, the month before vacation when it was administered to qualified children. It starts from age 10 above,” Alhaji Razak said.
He said eligible girls were often allowed to inform their parents about the tablets and with their permission, the health officials admitted the tablets to the pupils, adding that a teacher in the school was assigned to the programme.
Madam Gloria Yvonne Kobati, the Regional Nutrition Officer of the GHS, she confirmed that some private schools were left out of the programme, and said “For now, we do not have the tablets, if we get some, we will extend to the private schools.”