reportSchool Health Programs and Research (Reports)
Introduction to Our Activities
5th Asia School Health and Nutrition Training Course
Over the course of nine days from November 26 to December 4, 2015, the 5th Asia School Health and Nutrition Training Course was held at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. For the fifth session of this course, the Japan Consortium for Global School Health Research put together a program in cooperation with Thailand’s Mahidol University and Britian’s Partnership for Child Development (PCD), and approximately 30 people participated from 11 Asian nations (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Laos, India, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Thailand). Department Professor Kobayashi, who is a director of the Japan Consortium for Global School Health Research, undertook the training planning, administration and lectures, and students Kethsana and Henzan provided administrative support.
WHO School Health Technical Meeting “Global Health Initiatives: Achieving Health and Education Outcomes”
From November 23 to 25, 2015 with administrative support from Hanae Henzan and Kethsana Kanyasan, Professor Jun Kobayashi, a director of the Japan Consortium for Global School Health Research and WHO technical expert, participated in the WHO School Health Technical Meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand. On the second day, Professor Kobayashi gave a lecture entitled “Barriers to and Opportunities for Building Institutional Capacity to Promote Health in Schools in Low and Middle Income Countries.” A proposal was presented based on the matters agreed to during discussions on the third day.
Over 50 people gathered for this meeting, among which were school health professionals, government officials responsible for health or education, global NGOs (PCD, Save the Children, etc.) and others hailing from countries around the world (approx. 30). The meeting proceeded with lectures, presentations and discussions regarding lessons learnt from school health activities and how to scale up and maximize opportunities for school health on the first day, how to address current barriers and situations in each country/region on the second day, and responding to emerging health and educational issues on the third day. Over the course of the meeting, experts gave presentations and roundtable discussions were held in which the participants divided into four groups to discuss school health plans suited to the situation in each country or region, while building awareness with each other of common issues in school health globally.
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
Republic of Kenya: Schoolchildren Support Project to Create Healthy Communities, 2014 Report
For two and a half months from August 6 to October 25, 2014, I was in the Mbita District of the Republic of Kenya to serve as an assistant coordinator for a grassroots program entitled “Schoolchildren Support Project to Create Healthy Communities,” which was being conducted by Nagasaki University.
In Japan, it is the school nurse who is in charge of children’s health and hygiene. However, a glance around the world shows that it is rare to find a country where there is a school nurse at every school such as in Japan. So, who is to look after the health of children at school? Even with the lack of such full-time staff, a comprehensive school health system is what introduces such a practice so that the health and hygiene of schoolchildren is watched.
In Kenya as well, there is the Kenya Comprehensive School Health Program, which was jointly created by the Kenyan Ministry of Health and JICA. This school support project has constructed a framework for implementing school health programs, introduced height and weight measuring, improved toilets and water tanks, as well as introduced health education and school health clubs at approximately 100 schools in Mbita District in accordance with program guidelines. The term of this project is five years, and this year is the project’s third year.
The implementation cycle of the Comprehensive School Health Program calls for conducting school health assessments using evaluation charts, analyzing the results, providing feedback, preparing the following year’s action plan, holding award ceremonies and implementing action plans.
During the period when I was posted to assist with the project, the main activities carried out were analyzing school health assessments, providing feedback, preparing action plans, sharing the results, and holding award ceremonies to improve motivation.
Assessments were conducted for the second time that year. The scores were compared with those of the first year, and based on this standard, 24 schools were selected with 10 receiving gold awards, 13 silver awards and one a bronze award. Workshops were held because these assessment results were shared with teams from the Mbita District Health and Education Bureaus, which conducted the assessments. During the workshops, participants voiced their opinions and assessment items were reviewed and updated, which were not appropriate when the surveys were conducted. Even as situations differ by region and school, revisions will be made in the future so that the assessment charts are as suitable as possible.
The number of schools participating in this assessment was 98. A five-day workshop was held to provide feedback on the assessment results and formulate improvements measures for schools with low scores. The participants also prepared action plans which incorporated these items into their plans for the coming year. I was in charge of data analysis, coordination and administration for these workshops.
On September 23, the first school health awards ceremony was held. Because it was essential to involve as many people as possible to indicate the importance of school health, officials from the national, provincial and district levels as well as school officials and community residents were invited. In order to request the participation of these people, we spent many hours traveling with local staff over rough roads starting early in the morning, something I will never forget. We also set up large billboards long main roads in cities to communicate the ceremony date announcement to community residents.
On the day of the ceremony, 735 people participated. People came from many far-flung areas to make the award ceremony the biggest event in town.
The next goal is to have the system take root locally. While building a cooperative structure with local officials, programs will move forward to protect the health and hygiene of schoolchildren together with the smiles of children from this year as well.
First-year doctoral candidate Yuka Maekawa
Research on Strengthening Schools’ Capability to Prepare, Respond and Rebuild from Disasters on Leyte Island and Other Regions of the Philippines第一回現地調査のため７月２７日から約一週間レイテ島タクロバン市を訪問。
In July, 2014, our team of Prof Gregorio from UP Manila, Dr. Kodama, Prof Kobayashi, and others visited Tacloban City in Leyte Island for the first time. We visited the department of education, regional office VIII to explain the purpose of our study and to gain understanding and approval for conducting interviews at schools in their region. One of the recommended schools had evacuation tents throughout their ground. However, upon our visit in Nov. 2014, the ground was cleared of all the tents; now available for students.
From March 2, we invited the co-researchers from University of the Philippine Manila, Teikyo University, and Yokohama City University to discuss the outline for our paper. During the discussion, the analysis of the study result was conducted per the policy analysis framework followed by discussion of possible recommendations.