Keeping children 'Fit for School': Simple, scalable and sustainable school health in the Philippines

Title page: Keeping children 'Fit for School'

Writer: Habib Benzian

Peer reviewed by Donald Bundy, World Bank and Nilanthi de Silva, University of Kelaniya

Published by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, August 2012



The Essential Health Care Programme (EHCP) is a successful response to a number of serious health problems facing Philippine children. Supported financially and technically by German Development Cooperation (GDC) since its beginnings, the programme uses simple, evidence-based interventions that can be delivered at low cost in elementary schools to reduce illness and missed days of school.

The essence of the EHCP lies in the everyday routines of elementary schools and day-care centres, as they apply the programme’s three interventions. Underlying these routines is the guiding principle that schools can and should provide a healthy environment and establish healthy habits that last a lifetime. Institutionalising healthy habits into daily life at an early age, when children are most receptive, avoids the more complex challenges of health education and behaviour change among adolescents and adults.

Toolbox: Keeping children 'Fit for School'

The Fit for School health outcome study - a longitudinal survey to assess health impacts of an integrated school health programme in the Philippines

by Bella Monse, Habib Benzian, Ella Naliponguit et al.
BMC Public Health 2013, 13:256 (21 March 2013)

Adobe PDF file (20 pp. 661 kB)

Click the picture below to get more info from the web.

Fit for school – update about the German-supported school-health approach
´Fit for School´ presentation in Eschborn
On 8 January 2013, GIZ school health experts Bella Monse and Nicole Siegmund of the GIZ regional Fit for school programme organized a half-day workshop for colleagues of the health, education and water and sanitation sections at GIZ head office in Eschborn.

The event started with an introduction to the FIT approach by Bella Monse:

This was followed by Nicole Siegmund's update about the new regional GIZ school health programme, covering several countries in SouthEast Asia:

After the presentations, the participants discussed how to continue to jointly take the approach forward, trying to respond to the enormous demand for it from many more countries not just in Asia but also in Africa without compromising on the FIT principles (simplicity, sustainability, scalability) and quality standards.
One central point in the discussion was the fact that one of FIT's crucial strengths is the way in which it ensures effective intersectoral collaboration between the health and the education sectors, - and now increasingly also the water and sanitation sector. The colleagues from the three sectors, and corresponding GIZ sections, who took part in the meeting agreed that intersectoral collaboration at all levels should be considered as one more fundamental principle of the FIT approach – not just for the implementation, but also for those involved in planning, funding and technically supporting the approach at GIZ and BMZ.
The FIT team also reported about the now formalized collaboration between FIT and the UNICEF WASH programme. They highlighted how the two approaches, and GIZ and UNICEF's particular strengths, effectively complement one another.


Fit for School - Essential Health Care Program - Basic Orientation for the implementation of the program in Public Elementary Schools in the Philippines:

Fit for School - Essential Health Care Program - Basic Orientation for the implementation of the program in Day Care Centers:

Fit for School - Essential Health Care Program - Creating School Health Facilities:

Fit for School - Essential Health Care Program - Monitoring and Evaluation:

BMZ glossary

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