Health and education, head to toe

The Podopediatrics screening programme, focusing on the early detection and management of foot health issues in children, starts yielding results.

A total of 24 students have been referred for specialised treatment under the Podopediatrics screening programme, now extended to all state schools in Malta and Gozo. This programme focuses on the early detection and management of foot health issues in children, underscoring the importance of proactive health measures from a young age.

Podopediatrics, a specialised field dedicated to diagnosing and treating foot-related conditions in children, plays a crucial role in ensuring the overall health and well-being of young individuals. Early intervention can prevent future complications, support proper development, and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Foot problems can impact a child’s ability to participate in daily activities and can affect their self-esteem and social interactions. Ensuring children have healthy, functional feet enhances their overall quality of life and well-being. Additionally, some foot problems in children, if not corrected early, can lead to other complications such as knee, hip, and back pain in adulthood. A proactive approach can prevent these future issues, promoting a healthier life trajectory.

The referrals came as a result of a pilot project initiated at the beginning of the year, which aimed to assess the foot health of children aged six to seven. A total of 235 students underwent screening, with 24 identified for further consultation at the Birkirkara Centre of Podopaediatrics Excellence. These students are now receiving targeted treatments to address their specific needs.

This initiative is a collaborative effort between the health and education sectors. Health and Active Ageing Minister Jo Etienne Abela expressed hopes of expanding the programme to include Church and independent schools, enhancing health care benefits across the community. Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation, Clifton Grima, linked the project to the broader goals of the new National Strategy for Education 2024-2030. With well-being as a central pillar, the strategy aims to increase physical activity and protect the health of students in compulsory education, aligning with a people-centered approach to education and health care.

Photo: Kindel Media

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