MI Monday | Health Check-ups Helping Learning.
Welcome to MI Monday I Week 11
Some aspects of children’s lives outside of school have a big impact on their learning inside school. For many of the schools in and around the slums of India, malnutrition, poor health, diarrhoea, anaemia and sustainable access to clean water remain core barriers to attendance and performance in class.
Poor health more generally has been shown to impede educational access, attainment, and achievement for students in emerging countries. Deworming, for instance, increased the attendance rate by 7.5 percentage points at treatment schools. Young adults who had more exposure to deworming treatment as children earned over 20 per cent more than those not treated.
Equally, removing barriers to school based on costs related to school can also encourage improved attendance. Providing free uniform to students can encourage attendance at school– one study from Kenya showed the pupils receiving free uniform attended 15% more school than control students over 5 years. There has never been a more pressing need to develop for teachers going above and beyond for the children they teach.
Today’s micro-innovation shares an initiative by a teacher to resolve the health relevant issues faced by children in the school.
Sanjeev, the headteacher in one of the low-income private school in Delhi, noticed that many of his students suffered from a lack of access to health care and that they live in environments that are unhygienic. This resulted in students either attending school despite being sick and spreading disease, or children being consistently absent.
The micro-innovation designed to overcome this problem involved a triple-pronged health scheme. By brokering relationships with medical professionals, Sanjeev ensured, firstly, free medical check-ups for students every two months, secondly free eyesight testing service.Finally, Sanjeev provides healthy lunches to younger students who specifically need vitamins for healthy growth. The value of this micro-innovation is that students are not only provided with health care and eye-tests but that they are taught how to live healthily.
This micro-innovation is interesting because it takes a preventative approach to reducing pupil absence that is so damaging for learning.
Potential implementation challenges
In order to be successful at scale, doctors and nurses would need to be incentivised to provide health care in schools.
Impact so far (according to teacher)
Sanjeev reports that student attendance has improved, concentration is markedly raised, and buy-in has been generated from parents who have engaged with the school in appreciation for care services provided. One of the bi-monthly check-ups successfully diagnosed a student with a liver infection that was treated in time! Sanjeev has now expanded the free eye-care service into the community.
Download the implementation guide for health check-ups helping learning.