HCMC plans to support school nurses to improve student health

HCMC has a plan for supporting school nurses to improve student health.

Yesterday, more than 50 key medical staff of the school and specialists from the Department of Education and Training in Ho Chi Minh City participated in a pilot training program to implement the ‘Capacity building program for school medical staff in preschools and general education institutions’ organized by the Ministry of Education and Training in collaboration with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training and the Save the Children Organization.

Nguyen Nho Huy, Deputy Director of the Department of Physical Education under the Ministry of Education and Training, said that in early 2022, for the first time, the Government issued the "School health program in preschool and universal education institutions" communication associated with grassroots health care from 2021 through 2025”. This is one of the bases that clearly define the goals and tasks of school health work.

According to Dr. Nguyen Nho Huy, school health work has received little attention for a long time. There have been inadequacies in facilities, working equipment, regimes and policies for health workers in schools; therefore, the roles and responsibilities of school medical staff are not fully recognized.

Mr. Huy said that school medical staff have to do errands in the school while their peers in other schools must do many jobs, which makes the quality of work less than expected. The training and retraining programs are mainly seasonal, and the content is according to each topic, but not comprehensive and methodical.

From that fact, the Ministry of Education and Training has cooperated with the Ministry of Health to draft a program of training and capacity building for key staff in charge of school health work. The training program is expected to include 8 topics, lasting for 84 periods including 44 training periods in class, and 40 practice periods. At the end of the course, candidates will do an examination.

The Ministry of Education and Training will provide documents, and the provincial and municipal Departments of Education and Training actively coordinate with medical facilities, universities and research institutes in each area to send lecturers to undertake the training course.

In 2023, the Ministry of Health will coordinate with the Ministry of Education and Training to advise on amending Joint Circular No. 13 stipulating employment positions, functions, tasks, organizational forms, and standards of school medical staff. The circular also assigns responsibility for school health management and funding for school medical operations.

In particular, the regulations will clearly assign functions and tasks of grassroots health care including district health centers, commune health stations, and village health stations for school health care.

People's committees in provinces and cities shall rearrange the existing school health system in accordance with the staffing norms, employment positions in educational institutions and the actual situation in the locality.

In her opinion, Dr. Nguyen Thi Hong Diem, Deputy Head of the Non-Communicable Disease Control Department under the Ministry of Health, schools have so far mainly paid attention to food safety for students but have not paid due attention to the importance of nutritional quality of school meals.