WHAT WE DO
We empower schools to provide health education, basic medical care, health surveillance, identification and referral of sick children and follow-up on students who are absent more than a few days. The result: better health for children, improved school outcomes, and better monitoring of children’s wellbeing.
There is a quiet crisis among school-aged children throughout the developing world. In Zambia, where we work, although 90% of children register for school, almost half drop out before completing grade 7, and a third regularly suffer from repeated illness and stunting that disrupts their learning and development.
We have developed a new medical delivery model in which school children are always within easy access to medical and public health services. We train selected teachers and administrators as School Health Workers to become the locus of healthcare in their schools. In doing so, we dramatically improve health outcomes by moving the access point of children’s health to where children spend most of their time – their schools.
With over 80% primary school attendance rate, the vast majority of Zambian children spend more time at school than anywhere else. Schools serve as an ideal environment for reaching thousands of children with cost-effective interventions that target issues in their health and general well-being.
By empowering local teachers and administrators as School Health Workers, we make schools accountable for the general wellbeing of their children. Teachers are able to increase their roles, and subsequently their standings, in society; and, the community as a whole becomes more educated and involved in healthcare, empowered to take ownership of this issue. We have seen parents who were previously unengaged on the health needs of their school-aged children are now an integral part of the process. School administrators, clinic professionals, and community leaders are working together to make student health a top priority.
Without the burden of poor health, students are given more opportunity in life and a chance to reach for a brighter future. With nearly 50% of the developing world under the age of 15, the well-being of kids today is essential for a thriving society tomorrow - and that means ensuring that children receive their right to health.