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By Ma Kang-yao
Taiwan News,Supplement Reporter
To help all students in 318 primary and secondary schools as well as their families have healthy lives, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Department of Health (DOH) recruited experts on health and hygiene as well as education to form counseling groups.
They set out on a journey to cities and counties island-wide to help schools implement Health-Promoting Schools Programs.
During the program's inauguration ceremony, Dr. Tu Cheng-sheng, the minister of MOE and Dr. Hou Sheng-mou, the minister of Department of Health met with the 35 members of the counseling groups, granting them certification and expressing their gratitude.
"Health-Promoting Schools Program is an important policy carried out by MOE and DOH," said Minister Hou. "Health is a lifelong concern in one's life and healthy habits need to be formed in the family and school."
The Health-Promoting Schools Program seeks to connect schools with international trends in health promotion. In 2004, 48 schools participated in the health promoting school program. In 2005, more than 300 schools participated. "These schools ranged from primary schools to secondary schools. Our ultimate goal is to promote the program in all schools," said Ho Cho-fei, the official of MOE.
The success of the program hinges on the efforts of the counselors. To implement the program, MOE and DOH divided them into Northern, Southern, and Central Taiwan Divisions. They taught health knowledge via Internet, set up websites and went to schools to give suggestions on faculty training or curricula design.
The best site to promote health
In 1986, the World Health Organization (WHO) held the first International Health Promotion Seminar in Ottawa and the Charter for Health Promotion was released after the meeting. The charter listed five health promotion action means ?build a healthy public policy, create supportive environments, strengthen community action, develop personal skills and reorient health services.
Since then, health promotion has become a notable issue in public health worldwide. In 1995, WHO suggested that schools should be part of the supportive environments that is listed in the health promotion action means to promote health. It was the initial stage for introducing the Health- Promoting Schools Program in campuses. Nowadays, Health-Promoting Schools Program is widely applied in West Pacific, Latin America and South Africa. Only around the West Pacific region, at least 27 countries have vowed to be part of the program.
These participant countries applaud the results of the program in terms of increasing the efficiency of education, decreasing health problems and promoting the public health. These factors are crucial to social and economic development in the long run.
Taiwan's health problems in campuses
With the fast-changing global environment, the types of diseases and health issues differ from the past. The top ten death causes have changed from acute infectious diseases such as gastritis, pneumonia and tuberculosis to the chronic diseases such as malignant tumor, cerebrovascular disease, heart attack and diabetes.
Unmarried pregnancies, AIDS, drug abuse, accident injuries and nutrition imbalance are the growing problems in campus. For instance, among girls aged 15 to 19 years old, the rate of giving birth has reached 8? according to a survey done by the Ministry of Interior in 2004. Cigarette smoking by male students has reached 17% and among female students, 4 %. Every one out of five newly infected AIDS patients is between the age of 15 to 24, 21% of them students. The percentage of students in drug abuse is 1%.
These figures show that health issues in campus no longer just touch on health concerns but also involve social and economic factors.
Tainan's Chun- Yi Elementary School promotes building of physical strength through exercise. School designs exercises for the students according to their health conditions.
To help all students in 318 primary and secondary schools as well as their families have healthy lives, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Department of Health (DOH) recruited experts on health and hygiene as well as education to form counseling groups.
They set out on a journey to cities and counties island-wide to help schools implement Health-Promoting Schools Programs.
During the program's inauguration ceremony, Dr. Tu Cheng-sheng, the minister of MOE and Dr. Hou Sheng-mou, the minister of Department of Health met with the 35 members of the counseling groups, granting them certification and expressing their gratitude.
"Health-Promoting Schools Program is an important policy carried out by MOE and DOH," said Minister Hou. "Health is a lifelong concern in one's life and healthy habits need to be formed in the family and school."
The Health-Promoting Schools Program seeks to connect schools with international trends in health promotion. In 2004, 48 schools participated in the health promoting school program. In 2005, more than 300 schools participated. "These schools ranged from primary schools to secondary schools. Our ultimate goal is to promote the program in all schools," said Ho Cho-fei, the official of MOE.
The success of the program hinges on the efforts of the counselors. To implement the program, MOE and DOH divided them into Northern, Southern, and Central Taiwan Divisions. They taught health knowledge via Internet, set up websites and went to schools to give suggestions on faculty training or curricula design.
The best site to promote health
In 1986, the World Health Organization (WHO) held the first International Health Promotion Seminar in Ottawa and the Charter for Health Promotion was released after the meeting. The charter listed five health promotion action means ?build a healthy public policy, create supportive environments, strengthen community action, develop personal skills and reorient health services.
Since then, health promotion has become a notable issue in public health worldwide. In 1995, WHO suggested that schools should be part of the supportive environments that is listed in the health promotion action means to promote health. It was the initial stage for introducing the Health- Promoting Schools Program in campuses. Nowadays, Health-Promoting Schools Program is widely applied in West Pacific, Latin America and South Africa. Only around the West Pacific region, at least 27 countries have vowed to be part of the program.
These participant countries applaud the results of the program in terms of increasing the efficiency of education, decreasing health problems and promoting the public health. These factors are crucial to social and economic development in the long run.
Taiwan's health problems in campuses
With the fast-changing global environment, the types of diseases and health issues differ from the past. The top ten death causes have changed from acute infectious diseases such as gastritis, pneumonia and tuberculosis to the chronic diseases such as malignant tumor, cerebrovascular disease, heart attack and diabetes.
Unmarried pregnancies, AIDS, drug abuse, accident injuries and nutrition imbalance are the growing problems in campus. For instance, among girls aged 15 to 19 years old, the rate of giving birth has reached 8? according to a survey done by the Ministry of Interior in 2004. Cigarette smoking by male students has reached 17% and among female students, 4 %. Every one out of five newly infected AIDS patients is between the age of 15 to 24, 21% of them students. The percentage of students in drug abuse is 1%.
These figures show that health issues in campus no longer just touch on health concerns but also involve social and economic factors.
Keng-Liao Elementary School, one of the health- promoting schools in 2004, participates in "Jogging around Taiwan," covering a 32.5 km stretch.
Traditional Program
The traditional school health program of the eighties covered health environment, health services and health teaching. The biggest flaw of that program was that it merely focused on the environment within a campus but ignored a school's other relevant factors that could affect people's health.
Besides, the traditional school health program only focused on transmitting health information. The Health- Promoting Schools Program has a bottom-up approach, requiring students' participation and school staff, parents and communities' cooperation.
The Health-Promoting Schools Program also integrates resources from education and public health organizations to form a support network. Thus, after attending health classes, students are encouraged to incorporate these health habits into their daily lives. Take eyesight protection for example, students are taught to mind various factors that affect their eyesight such as the height of their desks and chairs, the brightness of the bulbs they use for reading and the appropriate distance of their eyes from their reading material. The family and the community could give support in terms of controlling the time students spend playing video games and watching TV. They could also regularly check students' eyesight.
Only with such an integrated health care program could students' eyesight problems be properly addressed and lead to a change in students' behavior. "I believe that these joint efforts could make Health-Promoting Schools Program become the bedrock of Taiwan people's health," former deputy minister Ho said.
Program Implementation
The Health-Promoting Schools Program is implemented in the following ways:
(1) School Health Policy: Initially, a school should form a task force to identify the school's health issues, get the response of the neighboring communities and confirm the related factors about the health issue.
"Schools have to know their characteristics and the problems they face. We encourage schools to organize a team composed of principal, staff and teachers. After identifying their problems, they should then set up policies to deal with them," said Professor Liu Chieh- shin, of National Taiwan Normal University's Department of Health Education. "The school should also establish a support team."
"As much as possible, the support team shouldhave vertical and horizontal connections. Vertical connection means the decision makers set the goal and distribute the tasks to teachers and students. Horizontal connection means the school tries to bring the Teachers Association, Parents Association, School Protection Association, the community residents and students in."
Finally, in terms of carrying out the action plans, they should not merely be the activities. In the past, schools used to hold activities to promote health knowledge, but now they should ask if students actually change their behaviors.
"They need to have an assessment system to assess the results," Liu cotinued, "We should stick to two principles ?bottom-up participation and sustainability." Sustainability means that all of the participants understand the health issues and how they affect people's health. Bottom-up participation is the means to achieve sustainability.
(2) School Settings refer to all facilities in campus and the atmosphere that comes from school buildings, athletic fields...etc.
"We live in a man-made environment and we need to know what kind of atmosphere we create and live in," said Professor Li Ming- hsien, from the Department of Elementary Education, National Hualien University of Education. "Health-Promoting Schools Program gives us a chance to reconsider our surroundings, the public safety, drinking water and food hygiene, noise pollution, and of course, the aesthetic."
To fulfill the Health-Promoting Schools Program, new school buildings have to pass an inspection conducted by the Health-Promoting Schools Committee who will decide whether a classroom's color, chairs, desks and light are conducive to the program. In the past, such inspections were done but no proposal was given to the committee for discussion. Another important concern about school settings is campus safety. School is the place of most accidents and many of them result from faulty construction and the lack of inspection. Ensuring campus safety is a job that could be delegated to students. "It is a great opportunity for them to learn what a friendly environment is," Professor Li said. Creating an environment to arouse a student's interest, curiosity and creativity is the objective of the school. Does the playground have to be a 400m circle? Why can't we build a park in campus?
(3) School's Social Environment.
"We hope that students not only come to school to study. Interpersonal relations are also part of education," said Professor Liu Chieh- shin.
Schools should serve as a great place for gathering and meeting people. School belongs not only to the students and teachers but also to the parents and the neighborhood.
(4) Community relations.
Community relationships fall into three kinds - between school and parents, between school and communities and between school and governmental organizations. The community refers to non-governmental organizations and how to make use of their available resources.
"In term of relationships with parents, we have to see the school as the base to promote health knowledge and a learning center, providing the parents correct knowledge and the latest information," said Professor Li Ming-hsien. "In the past, schools always called for the parents' contribution; now we should think of what we can give them." As to the relationship with community organizations, the school is a great place to dance, to meet and to hold activities."After students go home, sometimes we joke that the school becomes a mosquitoes' nest so why don't we buy some rackets, nets to play badminton in school," Professor Li noted.
Finally, the governmental organizations provide schools precious information and human resources.
(5) Make sure students could take care of their own health. Health education has always been the best way to acquire health care abilities. In class, teachers pass on their health knowledge to students. But are all students really able to practice what they learn?
"According to research, transforming knowledge into action needs practice of at least 21 times," said Dr. Kuo Chung-lung, a professor of National Taiwan Normal University's Department of Health Education. "For some students, maybe it only takes 10 times to learn the correct way of brushing. But for some, it could take more than 30 times. If the support groups could help the students in need practice once every day, after one semester, they will have practiced 101 times."
The earlier students acquire the ability, the sooner and longer they can benefit from it. That is why most health promoting schools are elementary schools.
(6) Health Services are those that the school provides their faculty and students. They include services that have to do with students' personal grooming, health examination, inoculation, the prevention of diseases, correcting improper habits, students with special diseases, the improvement of their physical strength and the equipment needed by a health center. The Health-Promoting Schools Program requires the school to have first aid equipment, oxygen cylinders and complete records of the school faculty and students.
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Modify Dete:2015/01/30 Publish Date:2007/07/10