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The Health Promoting School

What is a Health Promoting School?

A Health Promoting School (HPS) is a place where all members of the school community work, learn, live and play together to promote the health and well being of learners, staff, parents and the wider community.

Many schools have already successfully implemented HPS and a strong network has developed for mutual support and sharing of resources.

Why is there a need for Health Promoting Schools / HPS?

Most schools experience a wide range of health problems. Some of these problems lie within the school itself. Others are problems of the surrounding community, which impact on the school environment and on health of its learners and staff.

Efforts to address these problems often fail and result in discouragement.

The HPS concept provides the basis for the spreading of health ideas and practices from the school to the community. The Health Promoting School, networks and links up with other schools in this process and may become a role model for other schools.A sense of ownership of self and the school is established and self respect in reinforced.

The health status of the learners, educators, community and the environment is enhanced.

Five key linked components are used to achieve the Health Promoting School (HPS) status.

The Five Key Components (S.P.E.C.S.) of HPS are:

The Five Simple Steps to a Health Promoting School

The process of becoming a Health Promoting School can be initiated through a series of simple and manageable steps.

HPS is not an extra burden, but just a different and more effective way of finding solutions to addressing health issues within the school curriculum.

It does not replace existing programmes in the school or the community, rather, facilitates working together on specific, mutually acceptable goals.

Getting Started

No school can address all of its health problems at once. Different schools have basically different health needs, priorities and resources. One school may have no access to clean water – another may be struggling to cope with vandalism, drugs or gangsterism. Through identifying priority needs and available resources, you can select an “entry point” – your starter project to address the need.

Examples of entry points include:

Supporting the Process

The KZN Provincial HP Committee is an open consultative forum established to coordinate, support and strengthen HPS initiatives across the Province.

The HP Committee is formed by representatives from Health Districts, with support from other representatives from the Education, Health and Agriculture Departments and NGO’s.

Each Health District has a Health Promotion Forum with representatives from participating schools, NGO’s, FBO’s and other government departments.

The Goal for HPS in KZN

To facilitate the development of all schools in KZN into Health Promoting Schools, so that they may become sites for the promotion of the optimal well being of the communities they serve.

A Health Promoting School is a school that is constantly strengthening its own capacity as a health setting for living, learning and working. (World Health Organization 1996)

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Copyright KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, 2001

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