Besides first aid boxes, some schools have rooms which immediately handle students involved in accidents.
Although many people seem to worry about the availability and quality of services provided in sick bays in schools nationwide, there are no doubts that school authorities and ministries in charge of education, have taken measures to ensure that students who are victims of accidents within the school premises get the most urgent treatment needed before their evacuation to the hospital.
Cameroon Tribune visited one of such sick bays at the Government Bilingual Practising High School in Yaounde (GPHS).
The Vice Principal of the francophone section, Charlotte Guechown says, “the school sick bay is fully stocked with the necessary drugs and first aid equipment to ensure that all emergencies are handled.” Students who fall sick or sustain minor injuries in school are treated by qualified fulltime nurses in the sick bay.
With five beds and one medical observation bed, GPHS sick bay is managed by two State registered nurses. One of the nurses, Mirabel Tem, says they receive students who have injured themselves at school, those showing signs of an illness which has developed at school or others who want to talk to someone.
With common drugs and Betadine, Mirabel Tem says they are able to handle students involved in minor accidents in school. But when the situation is crucial, the school authority immediately rushes the victim to the nearest hospital and later informs his/her parents.
However, GPHS authorities say they rarely receive serious cases of accidents but for minor ones which are quickly managed, permitting the child to go back to school. At the Central Government English Primary School (CGEPS) and Government Bilingual Practising Nursery and Primary School in Yaounde, the situation is different. The schools do not have a sick bay; neither do they have trained nurses who can handle pupils involved in accidents while at school.
The Head Teacher of the CGEPS Group II, Elfrida Chem-Langhee, says with assistance from the Parent Teachers Association (PTA), they have been able to equip a first aid box with drugs and equipment which permit them to quickly handle pupils who sustain injuries in school.
The first aid box is kept at the office of the head teacher. If a pupil sustains injury especially during break time while playing with his or her mate or from a pierce with a pencil, Elfrida Chem- Langhee says either her or any available teacher plays the role of a nurse in treating the victim. But if the situation is serious, the child is taken to the hospital. Before informing the parent, the school uses money from its coffers to provide emergency care.
While explaining that it is more of a charity service they offer to pupils involved in accidents, Elfrida Chem- Langhee underscores that when the situation is crucial and calls for huge sums of money, the insurance service which is supervised by the sub-divisional inspector of education plays its role in helping the victim financially .