Health Promoting Schools: A Way Forward for Bayelsa State, Nigeria
The Bayelsa State Government is assiduously working to improve the learning conditions in its schools. This is being pursued through a free and compulsory education policy. But the Compulsory, Free, Universal Basic Education Act 2004 requires that schools must be health promoting so as to enhance the effectiveness of the teaching and learning processes. Using documentary analysis, face-to-face interaction with school health desk officers and the author's work among schools the paper examines the concept of health promoting school (HPS) and discusses its way forward for Bayelsa State. The paper observes that despite the HPS concept signifying a school that constantly strengthens its capacity to be a healthy setting for learning, living and working, the HPS in the state is not yet visible. A most important factor responsible for this is lack of efficient mechanism for monitoring the effectiveness of school health programmes in the State. With the advent of Ebola Virus Disease and the attention it gave to school health it is proposed that there should be a Coordinator of School Health (COSH) in the states. This would make the health promoting schools more visible as well as enhancing access to personal health care for the school community. It would also enable the schools to produce a critical mass of healthy youth who would be able to avail their strength and intellect for the development of their states.
Keyword: School health, health policy, education policy, national development