Prof. Ma Yinghua gives a presentation at the webinar on UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education
On April 25, 2023, a webinar was held by UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education, under the theme "Connecting health and education to unleash the learners’ potential: The state of school health and nutrition around the world". The webinar highlighted the transformative impact of school health and nutrition for learners, and showcased countries’ good practices and the importance of diverse stakeholders in efforts to ensure that all children and adolescents can learn and thrive. Professor Ma Yinghua, Chair Holder of UNESCO Chair on Global Health and Education (PKU, China), from the Institute of Child and Adolescent Health at Peking University, was invited to share China’s extensive experience with school health and nutrition in a presentation entitled "A multisectoral school-based approach to promoting students’ health and well-being in China".
Christopher Castle, director of the Division of Peace and Sustainable Development, UNESCO, introduced the state of school health and nutrition policies and programmes around the world. He said that the health, nutrition, and well-being of learners are key determinants of education outcomes and an integral part of quality education. Almost every country in the world implements school health and nutrition programmes, which are cost-effective, feasible in all settings, and deliver significant development gains. School health and nutrition promote inclusion and equity in education and health, so more needs to be done to reach those who are missing out, especially the children and adolescents in low- and middle-income countries. Finally, he emphasized that more attention must be paid to the school environment which is critical to health and learning, and that strengthening coverage and impact requires programmes that are comprehensive, responsive to the context, monitored, and sustained by policies and financial commitments.
Christopher Castle presenting at the webinar
Professor Ma Yinghua shared China's experience in multi-sectoral cooperation in school health in the presentation. She introduced four parts on how the education and health sectors work together to implement and monitor an integrated approach to school health in China: firstly, a clear legal and policy framework for the inter-sectoral collaboration; secondly, an effective coordination mechanism; thirdly, multi-sectoral advisory and technical support groups and network; and fourthly, a nationwide multi-sectoral student health monitoring system. Finally, Prof. Ma Yinghua showed the operation of China’s school health monitoring system and the mechanism to coordinate inter-sectoral collaboration, using the National Surveys of Physical Fitness and Health as an example.
Prof. Ma Yinghua presenting at the webinar
During the webinar, the experts discussed how to promote global school health and nutrition policies and programmes. Dr. Adesola Olumide, researcher at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, shared Nigeria's experience on the implementation of school health and nutrition. Professor Donald Bundy, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, presented the organization and mission of the School Meals Coalition.
The experts attending the webinar
Written by: Yang Shuang, Zhu Guiyin, Song Suli
Photos by: UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education