Last year as part of the CERCA project we invited several schools in Bolivia to let us open doctor´s office once a week at their schools. The room, that normally was used as class room, office or library, turned for that occasion into a simple doctor´s office. Our physician went equipped with basic equipment such as an blood pressure device, a scale, stethoscope, a meter, vision test card and some other simple tools.
In the school a sign was put with the name of the nearest health center. We agreed with that health center that we were going a pilot project and by using the name we expected a higher level of confidence. The adolescents were also informed about the activity and they could ask permission to go to the office during class hours.
The statistics we gathered before showed that of the adolescents who went to the health center about 99% were girls that went for primary for the prenatal controls. The 1% that were boys went most often for non SRH related problems.
The goal was to make more adolescent go and see a doctor for preventive actions, especially for SRH related topics. However we did not mention that and accepted all reasons why they needed to talk to a doctor.
When we started, there was careful behavior, but later we saw that more adolescents came.
Most striking was that of the adolescents who visited, 30% were boys and 70% girls. A huge improvement compared to 1%
Also we saw that 53% of the visits were healthy adolescents who only had questions or just wanted to know if they were ok. Surprising was that 20% were because of serious eye sight problems. 2% were because of pregnancy. Then there was a versatility of other problems, ranging from respiratory problems to minor cardiac problems.
We think that this system can be of great help for developing countries such as Bolivia. This kind of preventive health care can create awareness and also tackle health problems before they really get expensive. Resource wise the costs are very limited. In most cases the doctor is already available at the health center or one doctor can attend up to 10 schools adjusting the frequency.
What do you think? Is this a good system? Is it economically effective? Or have you had experience with similar systems? Share your thoughts!