7.6 Mechanisms of early detection and signposting of young people facing health risks
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There are currently no top-level legal and/or policy frameworks establishing mechanisms of early detection and signposting of young people facing health risks. Early detection mechanisms are widespread to various stakeholders at national level and are described in the Strategy on the Rights of the Child in health (2017-2025) (Εθνική Στρατηγική για τα Δικαιώματα του Παιδιού στην Υγεία). The main stakeholders involved in early detection mechanisms are described in the following section.
School Health Services (SHS)(Σχολιατρική Υπηρεσία)
The School Health Services operate under the Ministry of Health. The services provided by SHS are performed by Professional Health Visitors and School Doctors. The main objectives of these free-of-charge services are the prevention of illness as well as the promotion of health and well-being of the students in public and private primary and secondary schools through:
1. Early detection and care of students with health problems
2. Development of healthy attitudes and healthy behaviours by students
3. Ensure a healthy and hygienic environment for children at school
4. Prevention of communicable diseases at school.
In doing so, in terms of the early detection and signposting of young people facing health risks, the SHS is conducting medical examinations and screening tests on vision acuity, hearing tests, normal developmental physical growth, colour vision tests, scoliometresis for early detection of deformities of the spinal cord, particularly scoliosis. In addition, the SHS is responsible for the prevention and investigation of communicable diseases, such as viral meningitis and tuberculosis as well as for the provision of vaccinations. The prevention includes finally the provision of medication, information on the necessary vaccinations, evaluation of vaccination coverage as well as participation in continuing education programmes of School Administration.
Dental Care Services (Οδοντιατρικές Υπηρεσίες)
The Dental Care Services of the Cyprus Ministry of Health run the early detection programme for dental problems which is provided to pre-primary, primary and secondary education students (more specifically, children aged 5, 6, 11, 15 years old). The Dental Care Services have mobile units that visit schools located in remote areas or areas of low socio-economic level and offer to children free preventive and curative treatment. Students not only have the chance to be informed about oral diseases but also, they are instructed and practiced how to perform adequate oral hygiene. For that purpose, toothpastes and toothbrushes are distributed to the students. In addition, educational material related with oral health has been created and has been distributed to school- teachers, along with seminars on oral health for teachers organized by the Public Dental Services in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth. With the help of this material teachers can enrich the lesson of health education and incorporate oral health in it.
The mission of the EPS is to protect and promote mental health and facilitate learning and development by empowering all pupils within the educational system, from preschool to the end of secondary education. Among its duties, the Service with its educational psychologists is responsible for offering supportive programmes, interventions and psychoeducation trainings that aim to prevent school failure and enhance psychological health issues. Examples include stress management, dealing with difficult behaviour, anger management, prevention of school violence and bullying, emotional literacy, promotion of self-confidence, dealing with loss and bereavement and identifying and acting on sexual abuse.
The provision of services of the Educational Psychology Service is regulated by the “Crisis prevention and management at the school environment – A Guide for educational psychologists" («Πρόληψη και διαχείριση κρίσεων στο χώρο του σχολείου – Οδηγός για εκπαιδευτικούς ψυχολόγους») and the “Crisis Management – Handbook for Educators” («Διαχείριση κρίσεων στα σχολεία – Εγχειρίδιο για Εκπαιδευτικούς»). As for the rest of the stakeholders, the guidelines which regulate the provision of their services are not documented in available data.
There is no specific differentiation when referring to the target groups by the programmes addressed.
The funding in all cases is part of the state budget allocated to the respective stakeholders for the provision of their services.