Students in the GCC States form about 45% of the total population and belong to the different age groups each having its own characteristics (childhood, early and late, adolescent stage, university age). School health programs differ in the GCC states in terms of who is responsible for these. In some countries it is the Ministry of Health (MOH), in others the Ministry of Education (MOE). Therefore, the work systems and references are accordingly different.
Despite this, the contents of the school health services are similar to a large extent, where most of them focus on preventive, curative, nutritional and rehabilitative services. Since the 13th Health Ministers’ Council conference in May 1982, school health has received greater attention. Actions for development of school health services included :
1. Evaluation of school health status, programs and regulations in the GCC States.
2. Definitions of attitudes and recent practices in the field of school health.
3. Coordination between school health services and Primary Health Care (PHC).
4. The Gulf School Health Committee continued its meeting to develop the performance thus contributing to promote school health programs, and converting schools to appropriate, safe and healthy environment.
5. Establishing Supreme National Committees between MOH and MOE and other related ministries and institutions. The member states for coordination as to help develop school health programs.
6. Preparation of a training program for school health officials.
7. Preparing a unified training manual for school health activities in the member states.
8. Setting a time table for implementation of the different phases of the health promoting schools project in preparation for inaugurating the Gulf network for health promoting schools net exceeding the end of 2005.
9. The Arab Education Board is to submit to the Excellencies the Ministers of Education about the necessity of presence of emergency plans for evacuation of schools at times of emergency and disasters and its periodic testing in the Gulf states.
10. Addressing the Executive Board and the Arab Education Board concerning allocation of part of their web sites on the internet to be for school health.
11. Approve the preparation of the unified training manual for school health activities in the member states such as statistics and forms and to include as well basics and principles of health promoting schools and healthy life style and protecting children against abuse.
12. Addressing their excellencies the Ministers of Education through the Arab Education Board about the importance of the presence and testing of emergency plans in the schools in case of disaster.
13. Urging the member states to comply with the present schedules and timetables of implementing the health promoting schools initiative and not to exceed the end of the 2005 in preparation for inaugurating the Gulf Network for Health Promoting Schools.
Global School Based Student Health Survey (GSHS)
In 2001, WHO, in collaboration with UNAIDS, UNESCO, and UNICEF, and with technical assistance from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), initiated the development of the Global Schoolbased Health Surveillance System (GSH). The goal of the GSH is to provide systematic information from students and school personnel to support school health and youth programmes and policies globally.
One component of the GSH is the Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS). This survey will enable Ministries of Health and Education to periodically monitor the prevalence of important health risk behaviours and protective factors among students and to use the resulting data to focus and improve school health programmes.
Project objectives and methodology:
The purpose of the GSHS is to provide accurate data on health behaviours and protective factors among students in order to:
- Help individual countries develop priorities, establish programmes, and advocate the need for resources for school and youth health programmes and policies.
- Allow international agencies and individual countries to make comparisons across countries on the prevalence of health behaviours and protective factors.
- Establish trends in the prevalence of health behaviours and protective factors by country.
The GSHS is a school-based survey conducted primarily among 13- to 15-year-old students using a standardized scientific sample selection process; common school-based methodology; and core questionnaire modules, expandedcore questions and country-specific questions that are combined to form a self-administered questionnaire.
There are 10 core questionnaire modules which measure health behaviours and protective factors among students related to the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among children and adults worldwide. These are:
- Alcohol and other drug use.
- Dietary behaviours.
- Mental health.
- Physical activity.
- Protective factors.
- Respondent demographics.
- Tobacco use.
- Sexual behaviours.
- Violence and unintentional injury.
Most important achievements:
- Strengthening political support and creation of a supportive environment.
- Development and upgrading of the database of school health, health of the youth and adolescent.
- Setting and provision of facilities and working power.
- Comprehensiveness and high quality of programmes and services prouded.
- Achieving partnership and integration between related partners, authorities and sectors and strengthening community participation.