Preventing and combating selected health risk factors in schools
Schools are where children spend most of their adolescence, one of the most important phases in life for the development of habits and for physical growth. Schools have long been viewed as important settings for promoting the health and social development of children. The World Health Organisation, for example, underlines that serious health risks can be prevented by engaging schools in efforts to change the educational, social, economic and political conditions that give rise to the following risks: childhood and maternal underweight; unsafe sex; high blood pressure; tobacco and alcohol abuse; unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene; high cholesterol; indoor smoke from solid fuels; iron deficiency and overweight/obesity.
The aims of the project and its core activities
The objective of the project is to promote a preventive programme for a healthier population by addressing, in a holistic and systematic way, health risk factors among young people, with a focus on alcohol and substance addiction, obesity and hygiene conditions in schools.
For the project beneficiaries, the Ministry of National Education and Ministry of Health, the critical steps for prevention are the scaling up of monitoring efforts, better coordination of preventive actions, and the creation of more structured platforms for planning and information sharing, especially regarding interventions.
At school level, this will be achieved by building a new module for monitoring risk factors into the existing e-school database system. In addition, a central and 81 provincial boards will be given responsibility for taking measures against the selected health risk factors, on the basis of annual reports and action plans. A healthy school model will also be developed in a pilot programme in 200 schools in ten provinces.
An extensive training and awareness-raising programme will be also be devised for teachers, health staff, policymakers, pupils and their families. A user-friendly website will host a discussion forum, information documents and activities designed for children.