P.O Box: 61161, Sharjah, UAE

Health Promotion Department introduces global standards for Healthy Schools Program

التاريخ :2020/07/16

With a new school year approaching, the Health Promotion Department, HPD, at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) in Sharjah has launched an action plan to update the Healthy Schools Program standards in line with the precautionary measures and health requirements adopted by the UAE’s competent authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The move aims to ensure the highest levels of health and safety of all the components of the educational process, including students and academic and administrative staff.

This was stated during the virtual workshop organized, on Wednesday, by the HPD in cooperation with WHO EMRO and Water Alliance Association under the title “Healthy Schools Program Overview”.

The two-day event was attended by Her Excellency Iman Rashid Saif, Director, HPD, from WHO EMRO Dr. Samar Elfeky, Regional Officer for Community-Based Initiatives and Healthy Settings, Peggy Hanna, Risk Communication and Community Engagement Consultant, Linda Merieau, Executive Director, Water Alliance Association, Edurne Gil, Program Director, Water Alliance Association, and Youssef Mohamed Al Harmoudi, the Secretary General of Sharjah Emergency and Crisis and Disaster Management Team. Also attending were principals and officials of public and private schools participating in the Healthy Schools program and 310 participants.

Dr. Samar Elfeky commended the joint cooperation between the HPD and WHO to update the standards of the Healthy Schools Program to be used as a reference and guideline for schools in Sharjah. The new standards include developing school curriculums embracing the mental and physical health concepts and stimulating students to follow the precautionary and preventive measures.

“Other standards include enhancing cooperation between education and health sectors to follow up on the communicable disease developments and preventions, ensuring students’ adherence to periodic vaccinations and checkups, providing elements of health and safety in schools such as emergency plans, first aid supplies, and cleaning and disinfecting equipment to curb COVID-19 infection, training teachers and students on first aid, and providing a nurse in every school,” Elfeky pointed out.

For her part, Iman Rashid Saif said: “The workshop comes as part of the implementation stages of Healthy Schools program to face COVID-19 repercussions on the education sector. Today’s workshop briefed the principals and officials of the participating schools on the most important global standards that we should abide by to prevent communicable disease.”

The HPD Director shed light on the objectives of the Healthy Schools program, including enhancing and developing a safe and healthy school environment to safeguard students form health hazards, as well as raising the capacity of the participating schools and guiding them to overcome health challenges, especially in light of COVID-19.

Youssef Mohamed Al Harmoudi said: “Thanks to the visions and directives of the wise leadership, the UAE has established itself as a leading example of confronting crises. This is manifested in the country’s successful response to COVID-19 consequences and the gradual decline in the virus infection.”

In turn, Peggy Hanna highlighted the most important preventive measures that should be adopted. This includes maintaining a physical distancing by arranging safe entry and exit of students and reducing their numbers in classrooms, staggering lunch breaks to avoid overcrowding, disinfecting classrooms and gaming tools regularly, and communicating with parents to support the application of these preventive measures.

On the sidelines of the event, the “Hand-Washing Hero” initiative has been launched by the Water Alliance Association. The initiative will be carried out in the public and private schools in Sharjah. It aims to qualify academic staff to train students on the proper methods of washing hands and maintaining water at the same time.