“Coverage of School Health Monitoring Systems in China: a Large National Cross-Sectional Survey” by Yan et al. provides an important demonstration of the value of monitoring national school health and nutrition programs. School-based surveys have long been used as cost-efficient monitoring tools, as they serve as a proxy for the broader health and wellbeing for the community in which they live and inform programmatic responses. Despite their importance, there is surprisingly little published on how countries operationally monitor their programs, which presents meaningful challenges for program implementers globally. China has an unusually complete school health and nutrition program, which is part of a larger investment across the 8,000 days. Since 2011, China has targeted health and education investments from birth to first job, especially for “Left Behind Children” (children who remain, usually in rural areas, while their parents seek opportunities in urban centers). The approach of this program, particularly for school-age children, was informed by the multi-sectoral approach described, for example, in the 2009 World Bank Rethinking School Feeding report. The effectiveness of this approach was demonstrated earlier this year when, after ten years of implementation, China declared an end of absolute poverty in the country.
The Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific, vol. 19 (2022), 100368
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