Delivering school health programmes

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Helpdesk Query:

Is there evidence about modes of delivery for school health programmes, such as school clinics with permanent nurses vs visiting nurses, or other methods?

Summary:

This report is a general overview of lessons learned about delivery mechanisms from school health programmes. Results are ordered by type of educational institution (primary, secondary, tertiary i.e. representing different age groups and needs), where available. Evidence on school health programmes is stronger for developed/higher income countries than low and middle income/developing countries. Limited information for tertiary school health programmes was available. The findings are ‘gender-blind’, but are separated by gender, where available. From the review of local, national and international school health programmes undertaken for this report, it is clear there is not a “one recommendation fits all” regarding delivery.

Successful school health programme implementation features taken from local, national and international (higher income/developed and low & middle income (L&MI)/developing countries) include: Wellness champions or councils – such as school nurses, district superintendents, or community members – selected to lead the programme (CDC, 2014: 2). Once identified, they must be supported whilst they efficiently train and motivate busy school staff (Blaine et al, 2017: 5).

Substantive but brief ‘pre-delivery’ consultation with school staff and parents is valuable (Pearson et al, 2015: 10) as health education is a vital feature of the school health programme (Pradhan et al, 2016: 288). More extensive ‘pre-delivery’ can be delivered where aspects of health promotion are less well developed.

According to ‘constructivist perspectives’, which focus on creating purposeful learning environments, the role of the stakeholder must be understood as a key aspect of providing an authentic learning environment (Frantz, 2015: 6). The council can provide leadership,
accountability, and structure; as well as strengthen ownership and transparency of the programme (Monse, 2014). They can also offer the support and resources needed to face challenges as they emerge (CDC, 2014: 1) – provided they are prepared (Blaine et al, 2017: 5).

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