School Health & Nutrition Program

In the past, School Health Services remained a component of Health Service Delivery. This service became dormant in late 80s. Under the Health Sector Reforms Program, it was perceived that there is a dire need of Health and Nutrition Program for the school children studying in rural areas. This program can contribute to improve health, nutrition, learning performance, increased school enrolment, attendance, better hygiene practices in the community and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health, education and child protection.

Hygiene education appears in the commitments of governments as well as international agencies and are relevant to international charters like the: the Millennium Development Goals, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, convention on the Rights of the Child and the Dakar Framework for Action - Education for All.

Keeping in view the importance of the intervention Punjab Health Sector Reform Project in partnership with UNICEF and other development partners initiated school health program in 2009. School Health and Nutrition Supervisors with masters qualification were recruited in 33 districts. The staff was trained with support by UNICEF.

Objectives

The main objectives of the SH&NP are as under:

  • Screening of the primary and middle school children for detection of common health problems by general physical examination and by examination of Eye, ENT, Dental and Skin.
  • Bring about an improvement in the general quality of life of school children.
  • Capacity building of school teachers for screening of children and promotion of hygiene education among the school children.
  • Identification of problems after screening and referral of student to BHUs, RHCs, THQs, DHQs and Tertiary Care Hospital, if required.
  • Linkage with community, with the students playing catalytic role for dissemination of environmental sanitation and hygiene education, as change agents.

Implementation Partners

  • Punjab Health Sector Reforms Program
  • Health Department
  • Education Department
  • District Governments
  • UNICEF

Provincial Coordination

Province level coordination has been entrusted to the Director General Health Services Punjab. A Provincial Focal Point has been established .Monitoring, supervision, technical support, collection of reports and feed back to the districts is being implemented.

Outline of School Health Program

  • The SH&NS visit every primary and middle school of their catchments area, preferably once in a month for delivering lectures on health education and health life style. He is carrying out screening of students for Eye, ENT, Dental, Skin and General Physical problems. The trained school teachers assist them.
  • After screening, if any problem is detected, the student is referred to medical officer Incharge of concerned BHU.
  • The student is examined by medical officer and if the problem can be treated at BHU level, he is provided treatment. In case the student needs any specialized treatment, medical officer refer him to the concerned specialty available at the nearest hospital i.e. RHC, THQ, DHQ and Tertiary Care Hospital.
  • Management / treatment of the student is  provided free of cost but in case some expenditure is involved parents, school councils and local NGOs or Philanthropist may be approached.