school

Schools for healthy lives, not for corporate interests

Schools for healthy lives, not for corporate interests

ublished by the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health in May 2021

This correspondence was recently published by The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health[1] in response to the Viewpoint: Supporting every school to become a foundation for healthy lives[2], by Prof. Didier Jourdan and colleagues.

The authors welcome the call by Didier Jourdan and colleagues for schools to become a foundation for healthy lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has focused the world’s attention on the institutions that influence health, including schools. The pandemic has exposed and deepened the long-standing and inequitable ways in which wider social conditions can undermine public health. Achieving a healthier and fairer future depends on social determinants that promote the health of all people. Schools and education are intricately linked to health, equity, and life opportunities. They echo the view of Didier Jourdan and colleagues that health professionals have an important role in supporting educational institutions to promote health and in advocating for structural change in the interests of children and adolescents.

Read the whole correspondence

Read the article by Didier Jourdan and colleagues


[1] van Schalkwyk, M.C.I., Knai, C., Jackson, N., Maani, N. & Petticrew, M. (2021). Schools for healthy lives, not for corporate interests. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(21)00097-3

[2] Jourdan, D., Gray, N. J., Barry, M. M., Caffe, S., Cornu, C., Diagne, F., El Hage, F., Farmer, M. Y., Slade, S., Marmot, M., & Sawyer, S. M. (2021). Supporting every school to become a foundation for healthy lives. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30316-3

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Participate in the second survey on the safe reopening of schools

Participate in the second survey on the safe reopening of schools

You are invited to complete the second survey on the safe reopening of schools and to share the survey within your network. The aim of the survey is to gather the experiences and opinions of education and health professionals about the processes in place in their countries and territories to reopen schools safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to keep them open.

We want to continue to form a bridge between the scientific data and the needs of people who are implementing national guidance and feeling the impact of the ongoing pandemic in schools and the surrounding communities. It will reflect on intersectoral working to date, and recommendations for moving forward.

The survey explores the public health measures that have been put in place in schools; communication of guidance at national and/or local level, and the facilitators or barriers to safe reopening. The survey should take 10-20 minutes to complete. It is a follow-up of the survey which was conducted in May/June 2020.

The survey is conducted by the UNESCO Chair and WHO Collaborating Center in Global Health & Education with the support of its consortium partners from ASCD, CHAIN, Education InternationalEUPHA Child and Adolescent Public Health, EUPHA Health PromotionGCU London, IAAH and their Young Professionals’ Network, IUHPE, NCD Child, UCA and the SHE Network.

More information and access to the survey link

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The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health – Podcast

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health – Podcast

In Conversation With… Didier Jourdan & Nicola Gray

Didier Jourdan & Nicola Gray join The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health Editor-in-chief Jane Godsland to discuss how and why child health professionals should be supporting schools to become the foundation of a healthy life.

Didier Jourdan & Nicola Gray are the lead authors of the viewpoint “Supporting every school to become a foundation for healthy lives” which was published in the Lancet on Friday 22 January 2021

Listen to the podcast

Read the viewpoint article

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Recording of regional workshop ‘School Health in Latin America: Intersectoral NCD Prevention and Management’

Recording of regional workshop ‘School Health in Latin America: Intersectoral NCD Prevention and Management’

On December 14 and 15, 2020, NCD Child, in partnership with the Healthy Latin America Coalition (CLAS) and the American Heart Association, hosted a two-day regional workshop entitled ‘School Health in Latin America: Intersectoral NCD Prevention and Management’ that focused on strengthening partnerships across the health and education sectors and promoting a whole-school approach in preventing and managing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the region, with a special focus on adopting school health strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Didier Jourdan, holder of the UNESCO Chair and head of the WHO Collaborating Center in Global Health & Education, participated as a keynote speaker on day two of the workshop which focused on strategies for educational continuity and management of NCDs during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can see his presentation on the UNESCO Chair website.

Visit NCD Child’s YouTube channel to watch the full presentations for both days, available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

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School Health in Latin America: Intersectoral NCD Prevention and Management

School Health in Latin America: Intersectoral NCD Prevention and Management

On the 14th and 15th of December NCD Child, in partnership with the Healthy Latin America Coalition (CLAS) and the American Heart Association organize two days of dialogue around the theme: School Health in Latin America: Intersectoral NCD Prevention and ManagementThe webinar will be held in English.

The online meeting will focus on strengthening partnerships in the health and education sectors and promoting a school-wide approach to preventing and managing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the region. There will also be a particular focus on the adoption of school health strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the 14th of December from 11:00 AM – 12:40 PM EST, Dr. Sonja Caffe -Regional Adolescent Health Advisor, Pan American Health Organization will present: Advocating for the prevention of NCDs through a whole-school approach.

On the 15th of December from 11:00 AM – 12:40 PM EST, Pr. Didier Jourdan, Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education in France will introduce: Education and health in schools during the pandemic: what have we learned from the field about the successes and challenges?

To register 

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Video Webinar: School issues in children during COVID-19

Video Webinar: School issues in children during COVID-19

Watch the video of the Webinar on School issues in children during COVID-19 organized by the International Pediatric Association (IPA), UNICEF and WHO.

On 2 November, IPA, UNICEF and WHO organised a webinar in French on “School issues in children during COVID-19”. The invited experts spoke about the difficulties of the child in school during the COVID-19 pandemic. They highlighted the significant impact on schoolchildren in terms of learning, loss of opportunities but also the consequences on dropping out of school. This webinar wished to return to the issues in order to better guide professionals towards a successful return to school by following the recommendations.

Pr. Rachida Boukari from the University of Alger, host and moderator of this webinar, was surrounded by experts:

  • Didier Jourdan, holder of the UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education presented “Data from a study of professionals from 42 countries on the process of reopening schools”
  • Mbola Mbassi, Doctor and public health expert at national and international level spoke of the “WHO School Health Services Guidelines for COVID-19”
  • Joseph Haddad, Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology at Saint George Beirut University Hospital, Lebanon raised “The challenges of Education and Disability in children and COVID-19”.

Pr. Didier Jourdan recalled the interest of this survey which was to collect the points of view of professionals in the field, testimonies from the field on the possible reopening of schools in different countries, and on the successes and difficulties encountered in reopening schools.

In his review of the “WHO School Health Services Guidelines for COVID-19” Dr. Symplice Mbola Mbassi mentioned that schools have been closed in over 190 countries, reaching 90% of the global student population. He added that school closures have exposed children to more anxiety, depression, violence, physical inactivity, poor diet, loss of learning, sedentary lifestyle and increased screen time but also for parents an increase in unmet childcare needs. Dr. Symplice Mbola Mbassi pointed out that schools are places of protection, of learning opportunities. They provide social protection, nutrition, physical activity but also emotional support.

Finally, Pr. Joseph Haddad talked about “The challenges of education and disability in children and COVID-19”. He emphasized the importance of a comprehensive approach to the care of children with disabilities that ensures dignity, based on the rights and needs of these children. The rights of these children are the same as to others, such as the right to education, medical care, rehabilitation, social support and social integration.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJHqv-vlia0

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GEM 2020: Reopening schools safely – the challenges for health and education

GEM 2020: Reopening schools safely – the challenges for health and education

On 20 and 22 October, UNESCO with the Governments of Ghana, Norway and the United Kingdom, has convened a virtual Global Education Meeting (GEM) focused on post-COVID learning. Ministers and representatives from UN and other agencies looked at the challenges for health and education. Children have suffered many impacts on their health, diet, mental health and well-being, but also violence, sexual and reproductive health risks, because of the closure of schools due to COVID19.

The director of School-based programmes at the World Food Program, Carmen Burbano, spoke about the importance of reopening schools and the need for safe and creative ways to keep schools open. Dr. Valentina Baltag from the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health at the World Health Organization (WHO), added that “There is no zero risk strategy for the reopening of schools, but a lot can be done to make sure they are a safe place to learn”.

Dr. Anshu Banerjee, Director at the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing, WHO, proposed reducing the size of classes,  improving hygiene, and alternating days at school as measures to maintain the health and the well-being of the pupils.

The UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education was represented by Dr. Nicola Gray. She expressed the fact that this year is difficult for students all over the world. She underlined: “It’s fair to say that this year has been a year of lost milestones for children; proms, graduations, birthday parties, she said. These joyful events in the lives of children and young people have been disrupted.”

Read the article

See also

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Symposium: School Health as we confront COVID-19 in Asia

Symposium: School Health as we confront COVID-19 in Asia

On 2 November 2020, 13.15 – 14.45 JST, 5.15 – 6.45 CET, the Osaka University UNESCO Chair Global Health and Education and the Japanese Consortium for Global Health Research will organise the symposium “School Health as we confront COVID-19 in Asia. What have we learned and where do we go from here?” The symposium will be held in English and is part of the Joint Congress on Global Health 2020 in Osaka.

Speakers from seven Asian countries (Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea, Lao PDR, Nepal and Philippines) will present on the COVID-19 situation in their countries and the measures that have been taken in and affecting schools.

Chairs are, Beverley Anne Yamamoto, Osaka University, chair holder UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education and Jun Kobayashi, University of the Ryukyus, JC-GSHR.

ZOOM Webinar URL:
https://zoom.us/j/98411449783?pwd=enlUQXhPSU8rRWJubmFOK1hFa29TQT09
Webinar ID: 984 1144 9783Password: 789328

Please see the flyer for details of the program.

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“Prioritizing the health and safety of students and educators through closer intersectoral collaboration” – Extraordinary Session of the UNESCO Global Education Meeting on Education post-COVID-19

“Prioritizing the health and safety of students and educators through closer intersectoral collaboration” – Extraordinary Session of the UNESCO Global Education Meeting on Education post-COVID-19

On 22 October, over 70 Member States adopted a Declaration in an online extraordinary session of the UNESCO 2020 Global Education Meeting expressing their commitment to protect national education financing and to implement measures to mitigate the devastating impact of the pandemic on students, families and school staff. As part of the technical discussion underpinning the adoption of the global Declaration, the UNESCO Chair in Global Health and Education was asked to participate in Breakout Session Theme 2 on re-opening schools safely.

In recent months, Professor Didier Jourdan, Dr Nicola Gray and Chair community members have written evidence- and practice-informed perspectives about safe school re-opening with partners including Sir Michael Marmot (UCL Institute of Health Equity), Mr Sean Slade (ASCD), and Dr Janet McDonagh (University of Manchester). The Chair also conducted a survey of professionals to explore their experience of providing education during the pandemic and of implementing school re-opening guidance issued by national or regional authorities.

Dr Gray, on behalf of the Chair, described the compelling evidence base supporting the ‘triple dividend’ of inclusive, equitable and sustainable secondary education – health for adolescents now, as future adults, and for their children – as the best investment that any government can make in its youth. We reported survey findings regarding the need for close collaboration between school teams, local authorities and families. We supported empowering adults in schools – to secure their rights to a safe workplace and, in turn, their responsibility to protect the setting from outside infection.

Dr Gray was specifically asked to respond to questions about supporting mental health as schools re-open, and optimising the return for children and youth with disabilities. Both issues demand effective inter-sectoral working between education and health, a view strongly shared by the contributors from Member States, reported back to the main session, and confirmed as a priority action in the Declaration (point 8).

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Returning to School: children and young people living with chronic illness

Returning to School: children and young people living with chronic illness

In the article “Returning to School: children and young people living with chronic illness” published on September 28, 2020 in the Journal of Children’s Services, Didier Jourdan, Nicola Gray and Janet E. McDonagh propose a framework to support the successful return to school of children and young people with chronic illnesses using appropriate intersectoral strategies.

The article is based on both research regarding the impact of school closure on children and young people with chronic illness, as well as global research findings about their lives during the pandemic and on the advice from practitioners who work in the field with these young people and their families.

It thus exposes the importance of a strategic approach to the return to school for these students who are vulnerable and recalls the need to take action against growing inequalities.

Read the article here

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