School health clubs to champion healthier living
130 students (65 girls and 65 boys) from four secondary schools and ten primary schools in Amadi, Yei River and Maridi States in South Sudan have been equipped with skills to promote healthy living standards in the community. The students are aged between 11 and 24 years, and represent 35 schools health clubs formed and being supported by the South Sudan programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I). The training took place from 8 to 28 November 2018 under the Regional Primary Health Care project which is funded by Bread for the World. 15 school matrons and 15 school club patrons also participated in the training.
The training equipped the school children with knowledge on basic on health and nutrition, the utilization of basic health services, school health planning, monitoring and evaluation of school health clubs activities and the roles and responsibilities of health club members and patrons and matrons in the school health programme promotion.
Frazer Saki Lino, a teacher and school health club patron at Haddow Secondary school in Maridi County applauded AAH South Sudan for initiating the school health programme to prepare students to be change agents in scaling up community health campaigns and improved health living standards in communities. Jackeline Umjuma, a matron at Motherland Model Primary School in Maridi, reiterated the school’s commitment to the school health program, saying that school children provide the potential to effectively reach and positively influence communities with messages on healthy living.
The Boma Health Initiative (BHI) has provided a policy framework for the involvement of schools in these health promotion activities at community level. The range of areas of intervention provided under the BHI include adolescent health, behaviour change campaigns, health parades, personal hygiene, first aid, deworming, vaccination, substance abuse, school water, sanitation and hygiene and HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention and treatment. The training was facilitated by health officials from the respective County Health Departments in the three states, supported by AAH-I staff.
The overall purpose of the school health clubs is to establish sustainable systems for student-to-student and student-to-parent education and knowledge transfer on healthy living in their context. The programme runs to May 2020, and will train an additional 220 school health clubs members from the 35 schools.