What is the School Health Programme in Nigeria? It's a document that provides the whole health structure for educational institutions. In addition, the School Health Programme must follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). Does Nigeria follow these recommendations? Find out from the article!
What is School Health Programme?
The School Health Programme of any country is a set of projects/activities in the school environment that promotes the development and health of the school community. The recommendations for the school health programmes were defined at the World Education Forum in April 2000 in Dakar. The importance of the School Health Programme were defined by the following organizations:
- The Education Development Centre and Partnership for Child Development;
- The World Bank;
The World Educational Forum in Dakar launched a new strategy for achieving the effectiveness of school health in all countries of the world. This strategy was named FRESH (The Focusing Resources on Effective School Health). This strategy promotes four main components of any National School Health Programme.
- School-based Nutrition;
- Water, Environment, and Sanitation;
- School Health Policies;
- School-based health services.
According to the recommendations of the WHO, any school must follow the following recommendations:
- Implementing a healthy learning environment;
- Integrating education and health officials into the school life;
- Providing a healthy environment;
- Improving the health of students, community, and school personnel;
- Building facilities according to the principles of social justice, stable eco-system, gender equity, food, education, and peace;
- Preventing leading causes of death and diseases;
- Improving all health-related knowledge of the students.
Nigerian School Health Programme Objectives
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According to the recommendations of the WHO and the World Educational Forum, Nigeria has created its National School Health Programme. The main goal of the School Health Programme is to improve the health of learners and teaching staff. Therefore, Nigeria has set up the following objectives to reach that important goal:
- Build the health skills of students and teaching staff in the school community;
- Promote the collaboration between schools and health related organizations;
- Promote the awareness of students about health related issues in the country;
- Ensure the utilization of various health related facilities in the school community;
- Develop the health consciousness of the students;
- Create collaborative efforts between the school communities and households;
- Promote the development and growth of every child according to his/her health needs.
Components of School Health Programme in Nigeria
According to the recommendations of the WHO, Nigeria has set up its components of the National School Health Programme.
- Location. Any school must be located in a safe area (away from airports, markets, factories, public motor parks and any source of industrial/machinery noise). All schools should have a fence with a gate. All schools should have a functioning drainage facility.
- Size. The requested standard for a school facility is one hectare of land for 500 students.
- Recreational Facilities. All schools must have a playground with facilities for sport and games in it. It must be located at least 2.5m away from a fence. All equipment for the playground must be properly stored.
- School Building. School buildings must meet the National Architectural Standards. The number of students in each classroom should meet the standards of the National Policy of Education.
- Water Supply. All schools should have an adequate water supply.
- Bath Facilities. All schools must have at least one toilet for 30 students. The toilets must be clean and gender-friendly.
- Waste Water Management. All schools must have a functional drainage system, which must be maintained properly.
- Environmental Sanitation. All schools will be responsible for the clean environment of classrooms, toilets, kitchens and food stores.
- Road Furniture and Safety. All schools will be responsible for the well-being and safety of students. Therefore, it should provide necessary measures to ensure the safety of students` life.
History of School Health Programme in Nigeria
The colony period was not the best for School Health in Nigeria. Before the 19th century, there were no school facilities. The British Empire started to implement the western education in Nigeria only in the 19th century.
The starting point was in 1842 with the primary education in Nigeria. The secondary education in Nigeria started in 1859, with the first Grammar School in Lagos. However, the sanitary standards for pupils were pretty low.
Only in the beginning of the 2000s did the Federal Government of Nigeria start to reform the National Health Policies and implement a new National Health Programme. This programme is still active and has the main goal to follow the international standards of health and the WHO recommendations.
According to official documents, the National School Health Programme must promote and follow the international rules and recommendations of the WHO, UNESCO, and UNICEF. Despite this, the actual reality of school health education in Nigeria is pretty depressing. For now, it's up to the schools to follow and implement these health programmes in Nigeria.
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