The Role of Health Education in the Care and Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases Amongst School Children in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, health education which is a compulsory part of the school curriculum from the nursery to the secondary level of education plays a vital role in the care and prevention of non- communicable diseases amongst school children. The knowledge offered through health education fosters a state of complete physical, social, mental and emotional wellbeing in children and eradicate ignorance of noncommunicable disease conditions.
Health education equips school children with adequate knowledge to clearly understand that these diseases cannot be transmitted amongst individuals, rather they occur as a result of growth in the body,deficiency of essential nutrients and other causative factors. For instance,through health education, my students have become very conscious of their nutritional needs and the need for exercise as they consult me at intervals to ensure their food chart contains balanced diet because they are eager to prevent obesity, deficiency diseases and other non communicable diseases.
Health education avails students the opportunity to understand that the major determinants of health which are heredity, lifestyle and environment contribute to their vulnerability to non communicable diseases as some people suffer from disease conditions like diabetes, sickle cell anaemia as a result of heredity. This helps them adopt a positive attitude towards self care and acceptance of health measures for better management of these diseases. In addition, children that have a family history of some non communicable diseases are better informed on the role of heredity in determining the health status of an individual. The issue of combining the right genotype for the prevention of sickle cell anaemia in the future is addressed at an early stage for them to make better decisions in the future.
Finally, school children are encouraged through health education to relate properly with their peers that are suffering from various noncommunicable disease conditions because they are not at risk of contracting these diseases. This promotes the self image and overall health of school children,those suffering from these diseases are encouraged by the support provided by others and the fact that they are not alone and they are well informed about available treatments. Some of my students suffering from some non communicable diseases for instance Asthma form an advocacy group that enlighten the school population on respiratory tract diseases,care and prevention during school health programmes.
In conclusion, I think that other educators should make their health education instruction teaching effective by adequately utilizing available resources as instructional materials in their lesson delivery in schools. Educators should adopt appropriate teaching strategies in order to promote the understanding of the care and prevention of non-communicable diseases amongst school children. This can be achieved through the provision of quality education during school health education instruction and programme. Furthermore, curriculum planners and stakeholders in various countries should in collaboration with the ministry of education review their school curriculum to ensure proper content coverage of disease care and prevention at all levels of education.
Adaobi Ugwu has over 10 years of experience in the Education sector,with special focus on school management,health education,sports and classroom evaluation. Adaobi Ugwu is a Physical and Health Education teacher and sports instructor at Pine Crest College Enugu Nigeria. She is a PhD researcher, peer educator and a United Nations accredited climate change teacher that works with teenagers in schools providing climate change education for better adaptation and mitigation of climate change challenges. Adaobi Ugwu is passionate for volunteering and achievement of sustainable development goals. Find her on Twitter