Every year children in low-income countries miss up to a combined 500 million school days due to common health problems like poor nutrition, worm infections, visual impairment and disability. Schools provide a cost-effective opportunity to deliver simple health interventions which are proven to reduce absenteeism and drop-out rates, and improve children’s educational prospects.
The School Health Initiative Project (SHIP) aims to address health and nutrition, focusing on deworming and vision screening interventions. The project, supporting governments in Cambodia, Senegal, Ghana and Ethiopia to distribute treatments and provide eye screenings and glasses, is run in partnership by Sightsavers, the World Bank, Imperial College London’s Partnership for Child Development and the Global Partnership for Education.
“School health in general is important for the development of children and affects their ability to learn and succeed,” says Claudia Costin, World Bank Senior Director for Education. “Improving the health and nutritional status of school-age children has a significant impact on the timing of their enrollment, the frequency of their attendance, and their performance in school.”