Improving School Health Services in the WHO European Region is part of an ongoing Regional and global process. It aims to improve the quality of health care services for children and adolescents and to ensure compliance with children’s rights standards, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the European Region with almost universal access to schooling, the school setting provides a unique opportunity to reach equally school-aged children and adolescents.
School Health Services - with presence of school nurse or school doctor - is a model heritated by Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) from the former system of health care delivery. Over the last years, staffing, responsibilities, services provided and funding of School Health Services have been changed in CIS countries. They search efficient ways to improve competencies of school health personnel, communication with students, teachers and parents, and provision of better support for health promotion in schools and communities.
In September 2020, WHO Reginal Office for Europe and the Russian Federal Centre of Child Health/WHO Collaborative Centre initiated a Project on assessment and improvement of School Health Services in Eastern European and Central Asian countries (EECA countries). This project aims to assist the governments and School Health Services' national focal points in assessment of compliance of School Health Services with the European Quality Standards in School Health Services. Have a look at the framework for quality standards. Also, it aims to define the scope for improvement by informing the development or revision of policies, guidelines and standards.
The designed assessment tool is comprehensive. It addresses all standards of the European Framework on Quality Standards in School Health Services and intends to support long-term planning efforts on national and subnational levels. Nine EECA countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) assigned national lead experts and teams. These experts and teams have been trained in online training sessions on the assessment methodology, tools and guidance on focal groups discussion with different groups of stakeholders. Country data have been collected, analysed and presented in country reports with policy recommendations.
It is expected that assessment findings and recommendations will be used to facilitate a country multi-stakeholder dialogue and inform national policies and services improvement in School Health Services. Examples of good practices, examination of common challenges and gaps as well as recommendations for priority actions will be summed up in a synthesis report.
By Dr. Aigul Kuttumuratova, Technical Officer,
Child and Adolescent Health and Development,
WHO Regional Office for Europe