Develop case management protocol in SHSs – Eduwatch

Education think tank, Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch), has called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to liaise with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to develop a case management protocol for sick students in schools.


This follows the death of a first-year student of the Aburi Girls Senior High School (SHS) last week.

It said GES should liaise with the GHS to ensure sickbays had the required drugs, competent personnel and basic facilities to function under the NHIS and that “parent associations and old students must be interested in the state and functioning of health facilities in their schools while providing support.


The Executive Director of Eduwatch, Kofi Asare, told the Daily Graphic that each sickbay of schools must be well-resourced with a dedicated vehicle to handle emergency cases.

“It is important to have a case management protocol so that everybody knows their role and how to discharge their roles; what consideration should be given to decisions they take at any point in the process,” he said and added that “because we don’t have such protocols, everyone uses their own discretion to manage a situation when it comes up”.

He said although in many cases, positive discretion was followed, “sometimes you have negative discretion being exercised”.

He cited the case at Aburi Girls where the parents of the deceased, who lived at Ablekuma in Accra, had to be called to the school, as a negative discretion.

“If such protocols were there and abided by, probably, we could have saved the life of the girl,” he emphasised, adding that the benefit of having a protocol was that it made it possible to hold each actor, who had responsibility in the health case management process, accountable. 


Eduwatch welcomed the investigation launched by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service into the incident and urged that the matter be pursued to its full conclusion, with findings made public.

Worryingly, it said the unfortunate event at Aburi Girls SHS was not the first.

Since 2017, the think tank said there had been at least widely reported deaths in secondary schools resulting from the wrongful exercise of discretion by school authorities in refusing to allow sick students to either seek treatment at home or send them to hospitals for treatment.

Among other things, it cited the incident at the St Monica’s SHS, last year.

“This discretionary power, while being diligently exercised most times, is subject to abuse through, among others, individual biases.

In addition, the lack of case management protocols blurs accountability, as there are no standards to measure actions of duty bearers against,” he said.


“The state of sickbays in some of our senior high schools must be a concern to stakeholders, with challenges ranging from personnel, facilities and medicines.

There are many schools where sickbays run cash and carry on medicines, in spite of students having NHIS cards,” it said.

That, it said, was unacceptable.

“|Ghana is the only country operating a public boarding secondary education system, with over one million students in boarding houses.

Our schools have grown in population from institutions of learning to full communities, with some schools having about 6,000 students and staff on campus.

 It is, therefore, important to prioritise the delivery of primary health care in our schools and strengthen the referral systems,” it said.

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