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11 Schools From Qatar Join WHO programme

In a major initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle among students, the Supreme Council of Health will develop “Health Promoting Schools” in Qatar, in line with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

In the first phase of the project, 11 Qatari schools have signed up to become “health promoting schools.” All schools in Qatar have been encouraged to join the initiative. WHO has defined a health promoting school as one “that constantly strengthens its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working.”

WHO’s Global School Health Initiative launched in 1995 seeks to increase the number of schools all over the world that can be truly called a health promoting school. ” The GCC Health Ministers Office had asked all GCC countries to implement the project. Eleven schools in Qatar have joined the initiative and more schools will follow suit. The Supreme Council of Health aims to convert at least 85 percent of the schools in Qatar to health promoting schools,” Dr Mohammed Ghaith Al Kuwari, Director of the National Health Programme and Primary Care told The Peninsula yesterday.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a workshop at the SCH for teachers, school nurses and administrators where they were introduced to the “health promoting school” concept. Experts from WHO, SCH and other GCC countries spoke on various aspects of the initiative. “A health promoting school is required to implement a series of activities to create a healthy environment in the school. They should first accept the initiative, understand it and then implement it. There will be an assessment before a school is awarded the title,” said Dr Saleh Al Ansari, former director of School Health in Saudi Arabia who was among the experts at the workshop.

Food, nutrition and physical exercise are major components of the programme. A health promoting school should ensure that only healthy food is served in the school. It should also implement programmes to develop healthy eating habits among students and provide opportunities for physical exercises during school hours.

A health promoting school should engage health and education officials, teachers, teachers’ unions, students, parents, health providers and community leaders in efforts to make the school a healthy place.

The WHO initiative also seeks to prevent tobacco use, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, sedentary lifestyles, drugs and alcohol, violence and injuries among the community in general and the students in particular.

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