Evaluation of the implementation of the School Health Policy in two schools in Cape Town

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dc.contributor.author Ramma, Lebogang
dc.date.accessioned 2010-09-03T09:03:08Z
dc.date.available 2010-09-03T09:03:08Z
dc.date.issued 2010-09-03
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/8596
dc.description MPH, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand en_US
dc.description.abstract School-going children have unique health challenges that deserve a focused attention from policy makers, commonly done through the provision of school health programmes. The education system provides the most comprehensive existing infrastructure for reaching school-going children and school health programmes enable health problems to be addressed at relatively low cost. The 2003 South African National School Health Policy (NSHP) aims to deliver equitable and focused health services to school-going children in order to safeguard their right to optimal health and development. There is currently limited information on the process of implementation of the NSHP, implementation context at different schools, as well as facilitating and constraining factors that impact on the implementation of this policy. Aim: The main aim of this study was to evaluate the implementation of the 2003 National School Health Policy in two primary schools in Cape Town. Methods: This was a process evaluation that used qualitative methods primarily. Two schools located in different education districts were selected via convenient sampling for an in-depth study. Within each school, participants were purposively selected based on their potential to provide relevant information. The final sample consisted of seven individuals; five educators and two school health nurses. Data collection tools included an in-depth semi structured interview schedule, selfadministered questionnaire and document review. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and later analysed to obtain key themes. v Results: The evaluation found that the NSHP has been implemented in a phased manner, disadvantaged areas were prioritized, different staff-mix with regards to the composition of the school health team was used and the minimum requirements in terms of health assessment for Grades R and 1 learners (Phase 1 services) were met. Educators and school health nurses did not have the same level of knowledge and understanding of the NSHP, and educators were less informed about this policy than nurses. The policy context influenced working relationships between different actors or stakeholders. Challenges or constraints to policy implementation included broad systemic problems such as poverty and staff shortages, lack of dedicated budget for school health services and insufficient prioritisation of school health services by senior departmental managers, all which constrained effective policy implementation. Although findings of this study cannot be generalized to other schools, they give important insights into the current implementation process of the NSHP. It is one of the few studies focusing on the process of policy implementation in recent years and the in-depth qualitative methods allowed the researcher to explore the complexities and contradictions of policy implementation in post-apartheid South Africa. Conclusion: This policy has for the most part been implemented according to specified policy implementation guidelines and minimum requirements for implementing phase 1 services were met. It is recommended that a dedicated budget should be allocated to school health services and existing structures within the school system such as School Governing Bodies be utilized effectively to encourage parental involvement in school health. Nurses should advocate for increased support for these services among all stakeholders, including managers in the Department of Health. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject National School Health Policy 2003 en_US
dc.title Evaluation of the implementation of the School Health Policy in two schools in Cape Town en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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