THE PROBLEM STATEMENT
At 60, Nigeria is still bedeviled with a high prevalence of communicable diseases due to ignorance, poor sanitation and lack of basic health education.
The country has also been experiencing an increase in non-communicable diseases because of the adoption of poor lifestyle habits.
With the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic, the true state of our health sector has become clear. At present, Nigeria’s health indicators place the country at the same level as countries suffering from civil unrest.
Records show that Nigeria is lagging significantly behind in terms of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and rules of the WHO.
Inadequate/lack of school health personnel, inadequate health facilities, poor commitments toward the provision of School Health Program from school administrators, community, health department and the Ministries of Education and Health are the reasons for the low standard in the nation.
Incessant outbreak of deadly diseases such as Coronavirus, Ebola, Lassa fever, Zika virus, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Meningitis, Cholera, Typhoid, Malaria, COVID 19 and rest of others, has claimed thousands lives of people in Africa and Nigeria in particular.
One of the nation’s responsibilities is to protect the lives and health of its citizens from any life threatening diseases and other health related issues.
The need for a national school health policy is desirable and will play a vital role in protecting, preserving and promoting health of individuals in schools and the country at large.
THE POLICY SOLUTION
The main goals of the National School Health Policy is to enhance the quality of health in the school community and create an enabling environment for inter-sectorial partnership in the promotion of child friendly school environment, for teaching and learning and health development.
With the objectives of Providing the necessary legal framework for mobilization of support for the implementation of the School Health Program.
The National School Health Policy will also set up machinery for the co-ordination of community efforts with those of government and non-governmental organizations, toward the promotion of child friendly school environments.
It will then guide the provision of appropriate professional services in schools by stakeholders for the implementation of the School Health Program; and promote the teaching of skill-based health education; and lastly facilitate effective monitoring and evaluation of the School Health Program.
The national school health policy has a clear vision of promoting Health of learners to achieve Education for All and Health for All in Nigeria with a Mission Statement which is to put in place adequate facilities, resources and program.
This will guarantee physical and mental health, social wellbeing, and the safety and security of the school community which will promote the learning outcomes of the child.
NIGAC Constructive Position/Take
1. The government should boost the quality of health in the school community by creating an enabling environment, for teaching and learning and health development.
2. The government must ensure provision necessary legal framework for mobilization of support for the implementation of the national school health designed policy.
3. The machinery for the co-ordination of community efforts with those of Government and Non-Governmental Organizations must be improve, toward the promotion of child friendly school environment should be looked into again.
4. The coordination between stakeholders should be heightened, more training opportunities provided for staffs and increase sustainability of the program.
5. The growth and development of every child should be taken into consideration and his/her health needs by every concerned bodies.
6. The government commitment towards creating awareness of collaborative efforts of the school, home and the community in health promotion and also develop health consciousness among learners, ought to be amplified.
7. Ensure that children from preschool age to adolescence are in optimum health at all times so that they can attain their physical and intellectual potential.