In July 2023 we completed a 2-year Health Education and teacher training project. Our aim was to discover some of the reasons behind underachievement at school and school drop-out. We wanted to find out if there was a strong link between health and education, and if there were other important factors that were influencing educational outcomes.Our project was based in Ganga Jamuna, a remote location in Dhading Province. The Wards contained 11 schools including one large Secondary School. In 2021 we appointed a young Public Health Graduate, Manisha who carried out a survey of the students and of the community.
The results showed that Dental Caries was a major influence on school attendance. Other issues involved lack of support at home to complete homework tasks, very variable quality of teaching and use of punishment at school, and for adolescent girls a lack of information and materials to deal with menstrual hygiene. The project coincided with the height of the COVID outbreak and Manisha was able to deliver COVID awareness sessions in the community and to distribute PPE, thermometers and pulse oximeters.
The results of the survey were delivered to the local community and the following decisions were made: 1. Three health camps were organised, and we ran a dental health camp for over 2,000 students. 2. One teacher from each school was trained to be responsible for health education. 3. A graduate teacher trainer was appointed on a one-year contract to live in the community and carry out teacher training and mentoring sessions. 4. An After School Club was set up in one of the more marginalised communities.
We are currently monitoring the impact of these measures.Further details about this project can be found on our website blog http://kasin.org.uk/blog/ Feedback from the community has been hugely positive. The municipality have asked us to the extend the project to adjacent wards and we have been in negotiations with them. In order to evaluate the project, we have employed evaluation consultants to spend 2 weeks in the area, interviewing teachers, parents, students and municipality officials. Our detailed plans have been informed by the results of the evaluation and in October we appointed our new Health Promotion Officer, Mamata Lama. It is important that the Municipality takes some ownership of the project and they have agreed to provide an Office and accommodation for Mamata.