Improving Life Skills for Students in Kitebi Secondary School: a Step in the Implemention of the Uganda National School Health Policy.
Author: NAMUKASA IMMACULATE
Supervisor: Vivianne Laing Marion
Access to education is one of the fundamental rights of every child, which should be delivered in a conducive and safe learning environment. Schools have been identified as ideal settings for health promotion among children, adolescents and school staff. Therefore, there is a great need to promote health in schools (WHO, 2012). Uganda in 2008 put forward a national school health policy giving guidelines how health in schools should be improved through the implementation of the policy. However, many schools have not put this into consideration due to the different schedules and dynamics of operation by the different schools and to some extent the financial implications involved. Health was thought to be best improved in schools through; Health education, Physical education, sports and recreation, Safety and security in schools, Environmental sanitation, Safe water supplies, psychosocial environment, Medical and dental care services, School feeding, Health promotion for staff, and School-community interface.
An action research (AR) was employed to build capacity and empower students, teachers and support workers of Kitebi SS. Action Research because it is participatory, enables ownership and sustainability creating an enabling environment for students, teachers and other staff to make their own decisions regarding their health. Qualitative research because it is exploratory in which participants freely expressed their views before and after the period of research.
A community diagnosis (CD) was carried out to establish the health challenges in the community and a number of health issues came up from the different categorical groups (students, teaching and non-teaching staff). The health problems ranged from poor sanitation and hygiene to eating un healthy foods from the school canteen. However, stress, poverty, poor hygiene and sanitation cut across all the three groups. The issues of physical inactivity, lack of music, dance and drama were not identified. However, they were addressed in the implementation phase as these were identified to bring community members together and increased connectedness of students to the school. Almost all the health challenges identified are in the NSHP. Transect walks were also carried out to try and monitor progress of activities and even find out if there is any change in behavior of individuals basing on the behavior change theory and social ecological theory. A number of strategies were put forward ranging from capacity building to health education and at the end it was concluded that health and education are two inseparable sisters that can positively impact on the lives of individuals and the society at large thus national development.