In 2017 a proof-of-concept program was carried out, whereby health clubs were created, trained and supervised in six schools in Kathmandu. First, a baseline survey was conducted in 23 schools in the Kathmandu area by outside health professionals. 8 students were chosen in each school to be members of the Health Club, half of them girls. A training manual and schedule were developed for a five-day training, and the training of the 48 Health Club members from the six schools was held in April 2017. The training was quite successful, the students were very attentive and appreciative of what they learned, and many of the school teachers joined the training at their own wish.
All students in all six schools were given health checkups, which included basic testing of urine and stool. The students’ blood was also tested to determine their hemoglobin level and their blood group. The students were also examined by a medical doctor. Minor ailments were treated and more serious cases were referred to hospital.
Six community meetings, one in each school, were held with the guardians of the Health Club members, the teachers, the School Management Team and the HEAR Nepal team. During these meetings information about the program was shared and feedback was given about the benefits of the program.
The success of this phase of the project was evaluated and it was determined that in future it would suffice to have 6 instead of 8 members of each health club. Furthermore, the decision was made not to include health checkups in the project. Health exams take approximately one week per school, which in the long term would not be viable for our organization. Also, the uniqueness of our program lies in the preventive focus of the school health club idea.