School and youth health

Global school health initiative

WHO's Global School Health Initiative, launched in 1995, seeks to mobilise and strengthen health promotion and education activities at the local, national, regional and global levels. The Initiative is designed to improve the health of students, school personnel, families and other members of the community through schools.

The goal of WHO's Global School Health Initiative is to increase the number of schools that can truly be called "Health-Promoting Schools". Although definitions will vary, depending on need and circumstance, a Health-Promoting School can be characterised as a school constantly strengthening its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working.

The general direction of WHO's Global School Health Initiative is guided by the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986); the;Jakarta Declaration of the Fourth International Conference on Health Promotion(1997); and the WHO's Expert Committee Recommendation on Comprehensive School Health Education and Promotion (1995).

Our strategies

Research to improve school health programmes: Evaluation research and expert opinion is analyzed and consolidated to describe the nature and effectiveness of school health programmes.

Building capacity to advocate for improved school health programmes: technical documents are generated that consolidate research and expert opinion about the nature, scope and effectiveness of school health programmes.Each advocacy document makes a strong case for addressing an important health problem, identifies components of a comprehensive school health programme, and provides guidance in integrating the issue into the components.

Strengthening national capacities: collaboration between health and education agencies is fostered and countries are helped to develop strategies and programmes to improve health through schools. Pilot projects implemented by the GSHI and partners include Helminth Interventions with China in 1996, HIV/STI Prevention in China in 1997, and Health-Promoting Schools/Health Insurance in Vietnam in 1998.

Creating networks and alliances for the development of health-promoting schools: regional Networks for the development of Health-Promoting Schools have been initiated in Europe, Western Pacific and Latin America. A global alliance has been formed to enable teachers' representative organizations, worlwide, to improve health through schools. The alliance includes Education International, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Education Development Center, UNESCO, UNAIDS and NGTZ. WHO's Global School Health Initiative invites all governmental and nongovernmental organisations, development banks, organisations of the United Nations system, interregional bodies, bilateral agencies, the labour movement and co-operatives, as well as the private sector to help all schools to become Health-Promoting Schools.

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Teacher training programme to prevent HIV infection and related discrimination through schools

Why is it unique and distinct from many other HIV/AIDS related efforts?

Events

International Walk to School Week

October 3-7, 2005

Assessment and monitoring

Global school-based student health survey (GSHS)

More information

A collaborative surveillance project designed to help countries measure and assess the behavioural risk factors and protective factors in 10 key areas among young people aged 13 to 15.