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Millions of school-age children are affected by serious, yet easily treatable and preventable, illnesses, which inhibit their ability to learn. Save the Children’s School Health and Nutrition (SHN) program is a cost-effective strategy to address a number of the health problems facing school-age children, through health education and health services such as deworming and micronutrient supplementation and healthy environment. Our programs are active in 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. These interventions are simple, safe and familiar, and address problems that are widespread and recognized as important within the community, thereby helping children participate in school.
Save the Children works closely with schools and their communities to ensure proper sanitation through building latrines and appropriate hand washing facilities and providing access to safe drinking water. Most importantly, through education, students learn how to adapt their daily habits to improve their health, nutrition, hygiene and prevent HIV and AIDS, gaining these important skills and behaviors for life. Whilst focusing on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and health education through schools, Save the Children’s SHN programs are nevertheless diverse and adapted to local needs – including for example vision and hearing screening, oral health promotion, malaria prevention and treatment, obesity reduction and violence prevention.
SHN interventions have been shown to improve not only children’s health and nutrition, but also their learning potential and life choices both in the short and long-term. SHN interventions particularly benefit poor and disadvantaged children, who have the most to gain both nutritionally and educationally. Also, by focusing on the special needs for girls – for example through Menstrual Health Management (MHM) – our SHN programs are helping reduce barriers to learning for girls and enhance their overall health.
It is now widely recognized that SHN programs are an important instrument in enabling children to benefit from quality education and reach their educational potential. As such, they are recognized as making a significant contribution towards countries’ efforts to achieve Education for All (EFA) and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Within Save the Children, the SHN programs work closely with the Education Programs to ensure that children in communities served by Save the Children are well educated and healthy. Similarly, School Health and Nutrition Programs are a good continuation of Early Child Development (ECD) programs. Our School Health and Nutrition Programs are recognized as a global model and are in alignment with the UN and World Bank framework for school health and nutrition called FRESH (Focusing Resources on School Health and Nutrition).
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