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The school, a viable educational site for interdisciplinary health promotion.

Research paper by Firdouza F Waggie, Natalie N Gordon, Priscilla P Brijlal

Indexed on: 26 Apr '05Published on: 26 Apr '05Published in: Education for health (Abingdon, England)



Abstract

An interdisciplinary health promotion module, using the community-based teaching approach, is offered by the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Schools in Delft, a poor socio-economic area with high unemployment, crime and a range of social problems, are used as the teaching site.To assess the status of the health promotion initiatives in schools where students were placed.A self-administered structured questionnaire for teachers and principals. Variables included were demographic data, views of health promotion, health promotion activities at the school, barriers and opportunities to implement health promotion activities.A response rate of 68.75 % (n = 55) for teachers and 100 % (n = 4) for principals was obtained. Most (87%) teachers felt that health promotion has a place within the curriculum. They reportedly focused on topics related to health within the school curriculum. Partners, such as public health nurses, university students, and a pharmaceutical company, offer additional health promotion initiatives. These include general health checks, HIV/AIDS information, adolescent health and dental health. Barriers to initiate and sustain programmes include lack of resources, insufficient staff training, lack of commitment by both teaching staff and the community, insufficient time, the heavy workload of teachers, and communication problems as a result of language barriers. Only 36% of teachers felt the school environment was conducive to learning.Health promotion initiatives in the schools concerned are uncoordinated, erratic, based on the resources that the school has access to at a given time and the demands of the curriculum.