The second Training Course on School Health and Nutrition Programmes in Southeast Asia will be held in Laos in 2013, aiming to better support regional efforts to implement and scale up school health and nutrition interventions.

The Lao government through the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ministry of Health, the Partnership for Child Development (Imperial College London UK), Thailand’s Mahidol University, the Asian Centre of International Parasite Control (ACIPAC) and the Japan Consortium for Global School Health Research aim to assist governments and development partners to achieve quality and sustainable school health and nutrition programmes that reach need children.


An agreement to host the course was signed on Friday 29thJuneby the Ministry of Education and Sports Director General of Pre-school and Primary Education Department, Dr Masthong Souvanvixay, Ms Jitra Waikagul from Mahidol University’s Faculty of Tropical Medicine and ACIPAC, and Mr Jun Kobayashi from the Japan Consortium for Global School Health Research.

The ultimate objective of the partnership is to provide a platform for key stakeholders to learn best practices for school health and nutrition through the 2013 training course.

This joint action and collaborative partnership will bring together the complementary strengths of each partner to coordinate and facilitate this course, which will focus on four basic health interventions – health related school health policies, methods of providing safe water and sanitation, and skill-based health and nutrition services.

Each individual within this partnership will provide technical expertise around these four areas based on their sector focus and proficiencies.

In Laos, a number of agencies have been involved in implementing health activities in schools. In recent times a number of steps have been taken to improve the coordination of school health and nutrition in Laos.

Signing of the agreement by Jun Kobayashi from the Japan Consortium for Global School Health Research

The first meeting was held among education and health officials which drafted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Education and Sports and Ministry of Health.

It was agreed that the health ministry would support the education and sports ministry in institutionalising, expanding and improving health promotion in schools.

The MoU was a significant achievement that created a basis for future activity and policy development between the two ministries. It includes both vertical and horizontal coordination mechanisms to encourage collaboration and coordination between the education and health sectors.

The concepts and visions of school health that support education outcomes were subsequently introduced to provincial and district education and health administrators.

More recently, a Joint School Health Committee was established at the central and lower administrative levels to oversee school health implementation. A comprehensive National School Health Policy (NSHP) was formulated by the committee.

Both of these coordinating mechanisms have served to align efforts and to encourage the promotion of a common platform on school health and nutrition activities and initiatives. The work culminated in NSHP being jointly signed off by the two ministries in May 2010.

The programme is now being implemented by the National School Health Taskforce which consists of staff from related departments of the two ministries and plays multiple roles in a cycle of school health implementation.

Building on this commitment to school health and nutrition the Lao government will host the 2013 short course.

Adapted from the original article from Vientiane Times.