Kathmandu: With an emphasis on safe school operations throughout the epidemic, the WHO South-East Asia Region’s Member nations have committed to strive toward making “every school a health-promoting school.”
Member nations voiced worry over the long-term closure of schools during the epidemic, as well as the harmful impact on children’s learning, growth, and health. At the Regional Committee meeting, a decision was passed to revive healthcare resources and guarantee that children remain healthy in schools.
The meeting fixated on the need to ensure safe reopening of schools in the light of the ongoing pandemic.
While elucidating on the role of schools in promoting better health and nutrition for children, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region said, “Schools have an important role in promoting healthy lifestyles, life-long healthy behaviors and to nurture human capital for sustainable development of any society. We need a whole-of-government approach to ensure children from all socio-economic background, including those with special needs, benefit from healthy schools.”
This was a part of the five-day virtual meet hosted by Nepal this year. In addition to health safety in schools, member countries agreed to develop an integrated Regional Action Plan on viral hepatitis, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases in line with WHO’s global and 2030 SDGs targets.
WHO and Member countries of South-East Asia Region discussed further strengthening of health emergency security systems to be better prepared for future health emergencies.
The meeting also discussed enhancing routine immunization coverage along with continuing efforts to rapidly increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
Accelerating efforts to prevent and control the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, action being taken for measles and rubella elimination and progress on universal health coverage, were some of the other Regional flagship priorities deliberated upon at the meeting.