Improving Health Initiative through Schools

  • By Dr. Myint Myint Than (Deputy Director-General), Dr. Phyu Phyu Aye (Director [School Health])

(Continued from yesterday’s article)

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Young school children enter their classrooms as their teacher waits by door. Photo: Phoe Khwar

Seven directives of the State Counsellor
(1) Elimination of drug hazards and to create a drug free society.
(2) Eradication of cigarette/ cheroot smoking, tobacco chewing and betel quid consumption.
(3) Reduce and avoid heavy alcoholic drinking and to shun away from related diseases, hazards and risks.
(4) Living and leading a lifestyle in a healthy manner.
(5) Reducing injury and damage from vehicle accidents and road accidents.
(6) Raising awareness and imparting knowledge on reproductive health through school curriculum.
(7) Reducing the excessive video game addiction among the students.

(6) Mental health issues
Among the teenagers, one out of ten youth are always (or) most of the times remained isolated and lonely. In the midst of such lonely youth, one out of ten attempted to commit suicide; (GSHS-2016).

(7) Reproductive health issues
According to the findings in the (2016) Myanmar Demographic Health Survey (MDHS), youth between the age brackets of 15 years to 24 years only a few numbers of youth have the comprehensive knowledge on HIV issues such as 16 percent among the girls and 18 percent among the boys.
Recent National Seminar on Strengthening Health Promoting School in Myanmar
Under the auspices of the State, and in cooperation among the relevant ministries and the Ministry of Health and Sports, the National Seminar on Strengthening Health Promoting School titled “Physically and Mentally Fit Youth for the Brighter Future” was held at the Myanmar International Convention Center-2 on 12 and 13 June 2019 in Nay Pyi Taw.
At the two-day seminar, priority tasks and programs on (7) topics have been taken up by experts and professionals and exchanged views. The seminar pointed out the salient points and the future tasks for the implementations at various levels such as the Central Level, the Regional Level, the State Level, the District Level, and the Township Level.
National Seminar on Strengthening Health Promotion School titled “Physically and Mentally Fit Youth for the Brighter Future” was held at the Myanmar International Convention Centre-II in Nay Pyi Taw on 12 August 2019.
Speaking at the seminar, Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr. Myint Htwe said Strengthening health promotion at schools is as important as implementing the National Health Plan 2017-2021 the health roadmap for the country.
He continued to say that promoting health standard of the school-age children who makes up about 20 per cent of the country’s population would ensure the all-round development of the country.
The Union Minister said the suggestions given by experts from different sectors including education, health and sport areas would be used for laying down strategies and future plans strengthening health promotion at
Union Minister Dr. Myint Htwe also called on other related ministries, INGOs and civil society organizations for cooperating in implementing the seven tasks for promoting the health standard at schools under the leadership of the Ministry of Education as the Ministry of Health and Sports alone cannot bring success to the program.
At the seminar, the General Framework was adopted for the future tasks.
Cooperation needed for the future of the offspring
Participation of the parents is very much vital and important for elevating health initiative through schools in top gear for the better future of the children.
School is one of the most important things in youth lives. If they are not educated then they do not have the skills needed to function in everyday society.
Educational institutions are the venues for the youth which systematically provide such as that of their physical and mental health; that of decent living among the society; that of the love and cherish for the tradition and culture.
As for teachers, they exhibit loving kindness, enthusiasm, and a spirit of sacrifice, treating their students like their own offspring and nurturing them properly.
With these feeling of tenderness that surrounds the learning centers, the parents must come forward and fill in the needy cooperation in the campaign of health initiative through schools.
Ways and means in support of the campaign is not necessarily just contributing cash and kind towards the school, but providing voluntary work and time in the activities.
Task for improving health initiative through schools depends mainly on the abilities of the parent-teacher association and the school health committee. Enhanced abilities of the parent-teacher association and the school health committee could surely elevate and pushed up the health awareness and knowledge of the students.
Healthy dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations would be achieved in the daily lives of the youth.
It might be literally termed as nurturing a new generation with peace of mind, physically and mentally. Peace of mind is a state of mental and emotional calmness, with no worries, fears or stress.
In conclusion, it may be strongly advisable that the parents and the public must come forward in the campaign and drive for the health promoting schools for the greater good of the students.

1. World Health Organization, School and Youth Health, Global School Health Initiative;
2. School Health Manual, Ministry of Health and Sports (2018).
3. Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS-2016); World Health Organization.
4. Global School Based Student Health Survey, (GSHS-2016), World Health Organization.
5. Myanmar Demographic and Health Survey, (Myanmar DHS-2016).
Translated by UMT (Ahlon)

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