​​Ghanaian school children will benefit from integrated school health programmes include deworming and vision screening An international programme to train teachers to identify child health issues has​ been conducted in selected schools in Akwatia in eastern Ghana. 

The training will enable teachers to acquire the basic skills necessary for the early identification of pupils with vision and hearing challenges or intellectual disabilities. Once identified the children can then be referred for early medical treatment. 

The training is part of the School Heath Initiative Programming (SHIP) initiative - a global programme that is supporting governments in Cambodia, Senegal, Ghana and Ethiopia to strengthen and integrate their school health programmes. ​

The initiaive is collaboration between the World Bank, Imperial College London's Partnership for Child Development (PCD) and Sightsavers with funding from the Global Partnership for Education.

Speaking at the launch of the teacher training, Mrs Getrude Ananse-Baiden, Country Manager from PCD, said,
"Schools provide a cost-effective platform to deliver simple health interventions which are proven to reduce absenteeism and drop-out rates, and improve child cognition and learning. Children who are healthy, learn better. "

She continued, "The SHIP initiative is focused on two cornerstones of school health and nutrition: deworming ​and vision screening. These two simple interventions can be used as a platform to bring on board other school health interventions. So rather than delivering multiple separate programmes government's are able to run one comprehensive school health programme that can reach and benefit every school child.

Mrs Ananse-Baiden said, "The SHIP initiative is designed to assess the feasibility of an integrated school health approach, document the best practices and identify the gaps in implementing school health programmes".

In Ghana, the initiative is being piloted in the Denkyenbuo District due to the areas high levels of parasitic worm infections. If proven successful SHIP will be scaled up to other districts in the country.

Following the training, deworming treatment together with eye screening will be provided to all pupils in the Denkyenbuo District. Free eye glasses will be provided to the pupils and teachers that need them. Findings from this pilot will be by the end of the year.