School-Based Health Interventions Online Course

Improving the health and nutrition of school children through school-based programs is a concept that has been gaining recognition in many developing countries. In low-income countries, programs are evolving as new policies and partnerships are formulated to promote health and improve educational outcomes of children, targeting the poor, girls, and other disadvantaged children. Promoting good health and nutrition before and during school age is essential for effective growth and development. Research shows that the educational system can often offer a cost-effective route for delivery of simple health interventions and health promotion. Low-income countries typically have more teachers than nurses and more schools than clinics. Good health and nutrition are essential for effective learning, and together, education and good health offer children the power of choice and opportunity. The provision of quality schools, textbooks and teachers can result in effective education only if the child is present, ready, and able to learn. Finally, education, including education that promotes positive health behaviors, may contribute to the prevention of HIV/AIDS, one of the greatest challenges for generations to come. School health and nutrition programs that help children complete their education and develop health knowledge and lifelong positive behaviors have been described as a “social vaccine” against poor health. Educating girls can empower them to pursue greater income-generating opportunities and look after the health and well-being of family and community members. The school system offers one of the most efficient and cost-effective means of reaching school children. For example, it was widely recognized that school health and nutrition programs would be essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and are central to preventing further HIV/AIDS pandemic. Today, the majority of low-income countries have recognized the need for school health and nutrition programs and are seeking to implement these important programs.(1)

(1) DA Bundy, S Shaeffer and M Jukes et al., School based health and nutrition programs. In: D Jamison, JG Breman and AR Measham et al., Editors, Disease control priorities in developing countries (2nd edn.), The World Bank and Oxford University Press, New York, USA (2006), pp. 1091–1108

This course is freely and publicly available. It is also part of the Certificate in Health Education Strategies. Enroll in the Health Education Strategies Certificate Program Through Global Health University.

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