Montrose experts have made a major contribution to Sierra Leone’s development of a School Health Policy, which will improve learning outcomes and strengthen the role that schools play in promoting health education.
At the request of the Interministerial School Health Steering Group, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) contracted Montrose to conduct a situational analysis of school health in Sierra Leone, to better understand the barriers to improved health and educational outcomes and map existing efforts being made by schools, government and development partners. This was completed as part the Monitoring, Evidence, Learning and Review (MELR) component of the FCDO Saving Lives in Sierra Leone (SLiSL) programme.
The report identified numerous challenges to children’s school attendance and attainment, including health, girl-specific challenges, disabilities, school environment and socio-economic status. The importance and effectiveness of several current interventions was also recognised.
Montrose’s analysis concluded that “nearly all the requisite policies and strategies are in place for successful school health promotion” and that with concerted efforts to fill the gaps, and increase enforcement and cross-sector implementation, an over-arching School Health Policy will harmonise ongoing work to improve school health and learning outcomes.
The results provided valuable lessons to inform the design and implementation of a robust School Health Policy which will streamline and support ongoing efforts under the National Strategy for the Reduction of Adolescent and Child Marriage 2018-2022 (Government of Sierra Leone 2018) and contribute to the achievement of the country’s Universal Health Care and Sustainable Development Goal targets. The policy will also align with WHO Global Standards for Health Promoting Schools (WHO/UNESCO 2019).
The situational analysis was based on primary and secondary data and was conducted through a desk review, in-depth interviews with key stakeholders at national and local levels, field visits to schools, clinics and health centres, and an analysis of relevant datasets.
For more information and the full report, go to www.savinglivesinsierraleone.org/publications