JIS News

The North Eastern Regional Health Authority (NERHA) has embarked on a project, which is geared at promoting healthy lifestyles in schools within that school region.
Regional Health Promotion and Education Officer, Frank Beecher, told JIS News that the project sought to facilitate actions for positive changes in behaviour, as effective health promotion helped to strengthen the skills and capability of individuals, organizations and communities to improve the determinants of health.
“We want to have within the schools, a comprehensive health programme that has goals for the delivery of skill based health education. We want to create and maintain a supportive environment that is conducive to learning and the maintenance of healthy practices,” he said.
Noting that the region comprised the parishes of St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland, Mr. Beecher said that the students at the Lime Hall Primary School in St. Ann had been benefiting from the programme, as the school was selected to be the model institution for the health promotion initiative.
“We did a needs assessment at Lime Hall and based on the findings, we developed a work plan and one of the things that we wanted to do, was to improve the ratio of hand washing taps to students from 1 to 48 to a ratio of 1 to 17,” he said.
He informed that NERHA, with the help of the community members, was able to construct two hand-washing fountains that provided an additional 24 taps for the school population.
Mr. Beecher further mentioned that training sessions were conducted in hand washing techniques and that the students were able to gain knowledge in regards to the transmission of diseases that could be passed on through improper hand washing.
“We also installed 16 new flush toilets and eliminated the old pit latrines that were there and as part of the training for those students, we included using the new sanitary facilities and dovetailed it into the hand washing training,” he added.
Mr. Beecher informed that the second phase of the programme was launched at the school recently and that activities would be carrying out to get the wider community to become more involved in the programme.
He is appealing to the corporate bodies and other members of the public to support the programme and partner with the North Eastern Regional Health Authority in the health promotion venture.