Cambodia hosts Indonesian delegates to exchange on Regional Fit for School Programme

The delegates and school principal and hygiene teacher talking about school sanitation and hygiene
08 August 2013

Kompong Chhnang, Kompot, Kompong Thom, Phnom Penh and Takeo Provinces, Cambodia – Diseases related to lack of hygiene, such as diarrhea and respiratory infections, are still the leading cause of death for children living in Cambodia. By the time children enter school, more than half are diagnosed with intestinal worms and a vast majority has dental caries, virtually all untreated. Students suffering from pain and disease are frequently absent from school, sleep less, and demonstrate an overall lower academic performance, compared to healthy pupils: Health status and school performance are closely related.

GIZ’s Regional Fit for School Programme in Cambodia aims to prevent infectious diseases among public primary school students to improve school attendance through three simple and low-cost interventions: 1) daily hand washing with soap; 2) daily tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste; and 3) bi-annual deworming.

The programme has been supporting the School Health Department of the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS) of Cambodia with the program implementation since December 2011. Regional programme partners include SEAMEO INNOTECH, a regional center of the South-East Asian Ministers of Education Organization. Since its inception in Cambodia, the programme has benefitted nearly 8,000 students in ten public primary schools in Phnom Penh and other four provinces: Kompot; Takeo; Kompong Thom; and Kompong Chhnang. This regional programme is also being implemented in three other countries: Lao PDR, Indonesia and the Philippines.Regional networking visit- group photo - Svay Kal primary school

Facilitating regional learning and knowledge exchange

A regional networking meeting was organized in Cambodia from 25-26 June 2013 to allow delegates from Indonesia’s Regional Fit for School Programme the opportunity to observe programme implementation in Cambodia, exchange programme information and experiences with implementation. Six representatives from Indonesia’s Department of Health, Department of Education, and Department of Community Welfare in Bandung and Indramayu, Indonesia represented the delegation. Dr. Ramon Bacani, Director of SEAMEO INNOTECH, and Regional Fit for School Coordination Team and Project Managers in Indonesia and Lao PDR, also joined the visit. The School Health Department of the MoEYS Cambodia hosted the event in coordination with GIZ’s Fit for School Programme’s country team.

Indonesian Delegates receive warm welcome

At MoEYS in Phnom Penh, H.E Nath Bunroeun, Secretary of State, expressed his warm welcome to the Indonesian delegates and noted that the Regional Fit for School Programme applies evidence-based and low-cost interventions to address school health issues in Cambodia. Interventions such as these make the programme suitable for scale-up, countrywide. H.E. congratulated the School Health Department and thanked GIZ and all implementing partners for their support and collaboration efforts to improve the well-being of Cambodia’s children.

During the two-day event, the delegates visited three programme model schools in Takeo and Kompong Thom Provinces to observe the students’ daily hand washing and tooth brushing activities. Additionally, the delegation held meetings with school principals, teachers, commune councils and School Support Committees to discuss success and challenges with implementing the Regional Fit for School Programme.

Indonesian delegation, ‘impressed’ with Cambodia’s progress

Mr. Rigil Munajat, Project Manager of the Fit for School Programme in Indonesia, noted that he was ‘impressed by Cambodia’s commitment to the programme and that model schools in Cambodia implement hand washing and toothbrush activities with their students every school day’, six days a week. The delegates were also impressed by the steps taken by the School Health Department to secure programme sustainability by including a budget for programme materials for the upcoming year submitted to the national government. This action will support the School Health Department with the development of a plan to cover the costs of programme materials from next-year onwards.

 

For more information on GIZ’s Regional Fit for School Programme contact:

Ayphalla Te
Country Project Manager
Email: ayphalla.te@giz.de
Mobile phone: +855 12 906 908

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All activities are implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).