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Research on School Health in Kenya

For four weeks from January 22 to February 19, I traveled to Kenya to conduct a preliminary research study. The topic of this study is factors associated with children returning to school after prolonged absence. I was able to see the state of school health in the Mbita District while also participating in Nagasaki University and JICA grassroots projects as well as a project for constructing a broad surveillance network and infectious disease control infrastructure using centralized diagnostic technology for multiple infectious diseases in Kenya.

On Wednesday, February 17, a school health certification award ceremony was also held, bringing together schoolchildren, elementary school teachers, officials from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, community health volunteers (CHV), parents and project staff. During my stay, I was also able to visit schools in Kericho County, which is supported by other organizations (NGO Caritas), in addition to those in Mbita District, which gave me the opportunity to learn about regional differences in school health and gain many experiences in Kenya.

Through these activities, I was able to gain much information, which would have been impossible in Okinawa, from visits to schools, attendance data as well as by communicating with elementary school students, teachers and residence that I met in these areas. I am now putting the information gained to use and moving forward with preparations for a full-scale study to begin at the end of May.

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Kazama and Professor Takeuchi of Nagasaki University, everyone at the project base in Kenya, the grassroots team staff and Professor Akiyama of Nagano College of Nursing, who graciously provided their support for my stay. Thank you very much.

Photo: Takeshi Kuno, Nagasaki University