Paediatric Skin Care and School Health

The largest proportion of humankind are those aged 10 years and under. They present a unique challenge to health care and dermatological professionals. In response to this, many organisations, from local, national and international entities – such as DEBRA for epidermolysis bullosa, Psoriasis, Eczema, Scleroderma, or Ichthyosis produce on the internet, clear, informative literature as guidelines for the care of children.

Likewise, over the past 30 years charities such as Child-to-Child have spread to over 70 countries worldwide, impacting over a million children’s lives and quality of care annually. They are actively engaging children on health and development issues who then disseminate and share their learning to other children, their families and their wider communities through participatory research activities.

Warning It is a sad fact but a reality that the importance of play and education is often, in the developing world, over ruled by putting a child to heavy and tedious work. Likewise, prevailing attitudes to gender often are to the disadvantage of the female child, who is an unwelcome cost. Much of the skin carers time may be taken up seeking support for neglected children from the community.

Also, the difference between caring for an infant rather than an adult includes seeking short but frequent absence of distraction, clear and simple instruction, reinforcement by approval, opportunity for imitation and waiting long enough for a response. Children are in many communities, underestimated in their capacity to understand and be carers in their own right.

Action We cannot underestimate the importance of encouraging a spread of vital information from adult to child as the young population develop, allowing them to, in time, become their own carers and carers of others. The sharing of information can only improve the right of all to provide themselves better quality of life for them, their families and their community. The school should become a guardian of the child’s health.

"Our school nurse teaches us to wash our hands and what to do if someone hurts themselves."