School Health Program expected to nurture healthy generation

The School Health Program for the 2021-2025 period is expected to bring positive changes to schools, to care for and nurture a healthy, dynamic and mature Vietnamese generation.
School Health Program expected to nurture healthy generation ảnh 1 At the ceremony
On the afternoon of February 10, the Ministry of Education and Training held a ceremony to announce the school health program for the period 2021-2025 with the attendance of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
Previously, the Government issued Decision No. 1660 approving the School Health Program from 2021 to 2025 to ensure comprehensive physical and mental care for children and students through promoting educational activities, protecting and managing the health condition of preschoolers, general education institutions, and specialized schools.
According to the Ministry of Education and Training, more than 23 million children are learning in over 40,493 preschools in the country. The government should pay attention to health care services for schoolers to prevent common diseases while children are at their schools.
Ministries and local authorities have implemented several programs and projects to care for and protect children's health, such as disease prevention, expanded vaccination, malnutrition prevention, and food hygiene. However, the government should take more heed of children’s health conditions by pouring more money to ensure the achievement of the goal of comprehensive development of physical and spiritual health by providing nutritional meals, clean water, and sanitation. The school health program for the 2021-2025 period demonstrates the nation's determination and aspiration to care for future generations. This step will pave for a practical, comprehensive and long-term program on school health.
This program will benefit more than 23 million children as it provides primary health care in schools. This will save a great deal of money for medical treatment and reduce the burden of disease on the family and the society, and improve the stature and quality of the race. The savings will pour into investment and development. Healthy students will be more successful in their studies, contributing to the country's socio-economic development.
The program also creates mechanisms and policies to encourage domestic and foreign organizations and enterprises to take part in the program; therefore, it will mobilize resources to strengthen material foundations, equipment, and tools in service of taking care of the health of children.
The ceremony officially activated the chain of school health communication activities conducted by the Ministry of Education and Training, with the coordination of ministries, agencies, central agencies, and local leaders along with over 41,950 schools across the country. The goal is to provide standard learning materials for more than 23 million children nationwide; thereby, connecting families - schools, and communities in the common goal for a healthy Vietnam.
At the ceremony, a representative of the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Health signed a cooperation program on school health work and health care for children from 2022 to 2026. Leaders of the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will sign a joint program for the period of 2022 - 2026.
According to the results of the National Nutrition Census 2019 - 2020 of the National Institute of Nutrition, the rate of overweight and obese children in Vietnam increased by 2.2 times from 8.5 percent in 2010 to 19 percent in 2020. The dual burden of school-age and pre-school nutrition, including undernutrition and overnutrition, is the cause of many dangerous non-communicable chronic diseases, affecting children's physical and intellectual development.
Nearly 40 percent of schools with collective kitchens and canteens do not meet food hygiene and safety requirements. In the 2018 - 2019 school year, pre-schools and high schools have 22.8 percent of semi-permanent, degraded toilets while 65.6 percent of educational facilities have toilets with enough clean water and hand soap.
The number of schools with enough drinking water and domestic water accounts for only about 62.8 percent. Poor environmental hygiene is the culprit of increased infectious diseases in schools.
The increasing burden of studying, environmental pollution, changes in socio-economic conditions are the risk of many school diseases. Currently, more than 40 percent of students have refractive errors while nearly 90 percent of students have dental disease and 7 – 15 percent of students have scoliosis.
These diseases affect students' ability to study, daily activities, play and quality of life and leave long-term consequences. Worse, every year, about 2,000 children and students die from drowning across the country.
Regarding physical education and school sports, in the 2019-2020 school year, 69 percent of students have not participated in physical training and sports activities meanwhile 76.5 percent of the students did not meet the standards for assessing physical fitness by age. The lack of investment in facilities is considered one of the reasons.

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