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School Health and Audiology Services

About the School Health Programme
This Programme runs as an arm of the Ministry of Health and currently implements the School Health Project.  This project consists of Hearing and Vision Screening for all 1st year Primary School students (Public and Private Schools).  Screening is done in both public and private schools with the goal of improving the quality of life and learning outcomes of all students enrolled in the Primary Schools in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

A collaborative approach to screening is being coordinated between the Ministries of Health, Education, Social Development and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as PAHO, DRETCHI, UNICEF, and others.

How do I ensure that my 1st year Primary School Child is screened for hearing and vision?
Parents should check with their school principal or senior school staff.  The Ministry of Education coordinates with the Ministry of Health to produce a schedule for screening.  Each school is aware of the current schedule.  Note that you will need to sign a screening consent form.  For more details, see the following information on hearing screening below:

Advice for Parents on the Hearing Screening Programme for ALL 1st year Primary School Students:

Programme objective
The Ministry of Health is conducting a programme to ensure that all primary school students are screened on first entry into school, in Year 1.

Why should school students be screened?
Screening for hearing loss identifies the school-age children who may have hearing problems that can interfere with their education, health and development.

Hearing screening helps to identify students with normal hearing from those who MAY have hearing loss.  Some students who fail the hearing screen may have normal hearing when tested further.  However, all students who fail the hearing screen will be sent for further follow up treatment / investigation.

How much will the screening cost?
Screening is FREE to all primary school students in public and private schools in Trinidad and Tobago.  This is one of the health services provided by Health Centres and community health staff throughout the country.  The Ministry of Health will cover the cost of the screening and of any follow up care and treatment that may be required.

How will the screening be done?

  • Visual Inspection of the ear:
    The ear is checked for any abnormality, e.g. inflammation, discharge, bleeding etc.

  • Assessment of the child's ability to hear sound:
    Earphones are placed over the child's ears and he/she is instructed to raise his/her hand when a sound is heard.

What are the possible results?

  • A student may pass all the screening components, indicating no hearing problem is detected, and no further action is needed.

  • A student may need to be re-screened at a later date.

  • A student may be referred to the health centre for further follow up treatment / investigation.

What parents can do to support the programme

  • Sign the screening consent form and return it to the school as early as possible.

  • Provide teachers and nurses with information on the development of your child/children.

  • Keep all appointments for follow-up care, when indicated by the health team.

  • Tell your child/children to follow all instructions given by the health team.

Behind the Scenes
In order to ensure the success of the Hearing and Vision Screening in primary schools, the School Health Programme does a lot behind the scenes:

  • Alliances are actively coordinated and maintained between the Ministries and the NGOs involved. 

  • Screening equipment is procured and distributed to County Health Administrators. 

  • Continuous training and re-training of staff is performed for conducting of screenings and supporting care.

  • Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the screening protocol.

  • Formulation of policies: A National School Health Policy as well as guidelines for visual and auditory screening.

Goals of the School Health Programme

  • Increase the target population of 1st year students to be screened.

  • Increased use of Information Technology for the management of the programme.

1st Floor Sacred Heart Building
16-18 Sackville Street,
Port of Spain
Phone: (868) 285-9126; (868) 623-6376;
Fax: (868) 625-8337

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The Ministry of Health - Trinidad and Tobago
#63 Park Street Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.   Phone: 868-627-0010