Poor health and malnutrition prevent children from attending school and from learning while there. The equivalent of more than 200 million school years are lost each year in low income countries as a result of ill health, and the impact on learning and cognition is equivalent to a deficit of more than 630 million IQ points. School Health and Nutrition programs contribute to health outcomes and are cost effective for school access and completion. In 2000, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank launched the FRESH School health and Nutrition Framework at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, as part of a global effort to mainstream school health and nutrition in education sector programs.
Why is school health and nutrition important?
The focus of school health and nutrition programs in low-income countries has shifted significantly over the last two decades away from a medical approach that favored elite schools in urban centers and toward an approach that improves health and nutrition for all children, particularly the poor and disadvantaged. School health and nutrition programs are not only important contributors to health outcomes; they are also exceptionally cost effective contributors to improved education access and completion of education.
How does the World Bank support school health and nutrition?
A major step forward in international coordination and cohesions was achieved when a framework to Focus Resources on Effective School Health (FRESH) was launched at the World Education Forum in Dakar in April 2000 (World Bank 2000). Among the early partners in this effort were the Education Development Center, Education International, the Partnership for Child Development (PCD), United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank. This partnership recognizes that the goal of universal education cannot be achieved while the health needs of children and adolescents remain unmet, and that a core group of cost-effective activities can and must be implemented across the board to meet those needs and deliver on the promise of Education for All.
Who does the World Bank work with on issues of school health and nutrition?
The Bank partners with a number of donors, bilateral institutions, and non-governmental organizations in the area of HIV/AIDS and education. Recent projects have been undertaken in cooperation with such partners as Department for International Develoment (DIFD), UNESCO, UNICEF, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the Partnership for Child Development (PCD).