While chilblains may not be a serious medical condition, it is still an affliction that should be prevented from occurring, especially when it comes to school students.
The symptoms of chilblains, which includes among others, burning, itching, and pain, will surely interfere with a student’s capability to learn.
Chilblains is caused by exposure to the cold, and the lack of adequate heating systems caused the outbreak in several schools this year.
No doubt, the change in the academic session timing played a role. Some schools opened earlier this year to allow for a longer summer break. However, the trade off was that some schools have to open when the weather is still cold.
The education ministry did take into account that it would be too cold for some schools, especially those located at high altitudes. These schools were exempted and allowed to stick to the old academic session.
However, it is now clear that there are more schools that may need to be exempted from the new academic schedule, that is unless the government provides the required heating facilities such as electric heaters or bukharis in classrooms and hostels.
But we are aware that there may be challenges in terms of budget to provide these schools with such resources. If the necessary budget or heating equipment cannot be provided, then either other measures need to be explored such as providing students with winter clothes, gloves, thicker socks and blankets, etc., or to allow these schools to revert back to the previous academic schedule and begin later.
What is important is that the education ministry begin planning for the upcoming winter already. The weather is warming up, and the chilblain situation has been mitigated, which could possible risk the de-prioritisation of any measures being planned.
The immediate priority would be to have a plan selected and pursued for schools that were affected by chilblain outbreaks.
The winter may have just ended, but winter is coming.