Gallery: Medical students are making a change

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Third-year medical students from the University of the Free State are working with Reach Our Community (ROC) Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation in Heidedal. They work with Heide Primary and a crèche in the surrounding area. “We were tasked with identifying certain health needs of the crèche and the pre-primary had,” said Kyle Beetha, one of the students.

“We have realised that a basic health need at the crèche was sanitation, especially during the Coronavirus  pandemic we are facing at the moment. We have decided to teach the children, aged 2-6 years, how to effectively wash their hands. We have also come up with a song that we taught the teachers and the children in order for them not to forget to wash their hands,” he added.

The students then moved on to teach the teachers at the crèche first aid, which involved basic CPR, wound care, how to handle epileptic children and how to deal with fractures. They donated a first aid kit to them and provided them with a list of numbers to call in case of an emergency. “Our first aid event was so successful that the principal at Heide Primary invited us to teach first aid to the staff at the primary school. We will be going to the crèche during this week to hand over sanitary packs to each child. These packs were sponsored a business Twin City Mall and includes soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste,” Beetha said.

Apart from the many things these students have successfully done, they have also been able to arrange for a social worker to have a talk with the teachers at Heide Primary, as a teacher is seen as a child’s “parent” away from home. However, the students said they might have to reschedule this week’s visit due the schools being closed as precaution against the Corona virus. Beetha added that this talk will be to educate the teachers about certain behavioural changes that the children have, what causes them and what role the teacher plays in helping the child to develop and adapt to the kind of situations that cause these types of behaviour.

He concluded by saying, “We have also arranged for a psychologist to come to the school in the first week of the second term. The psychologist is going to try and implement a programme into the syllabus of honours students, which will allow them to form a partnership with the school and integrate it into the school’s programme. They will then continue with the project every year.”

Heidre Malgas

heidre@mahareng.co.za