This document proposes a national strategy for school health and nutrition in Ethiopia. It is based on an extensive evidence collected during a nationwide situation analysis of school children’s health, nutrition and education conducted from July-September, 2008 through a process of visits to all of Ethiopia’s regions, literature review and conversations with a wide range of different stakeholders. Good health and nutrition are essential for learning and cognitive ability. Ensuring good health and nutrition when children are of school age can boost attendance and educational achievement. School children are often thought of as naturally healthy, but studies in Ethiopia have shown that many schoolchildren are stunted in height, anemic and iodine deficient, and in many areas are affected by health issues such as worms, diarrhoeal diseases, trachoma and other conditions. These highly prevalent conditions are all associated with impaired cognitive ability. In the light of this evidence, the Government of Ethiopia has identified poor health and nutrition as major constraints on the quality of learning and educational achievement of its children. In response to this, the Federal Ministry of Education has decided to include SHN as one of the thematic issues included in its annual review meeting. As a result, as part of its drive towards Education for All, the 2008 Annual Review Meeting recommended that a national SHN strategy should be established. The SHN strategy proposed seeks to seeks to support and augment other activities occurring in Ethiopia that aim to improve educational quality such as the General Education Quality Improvement Program (GEQIP) and School Improvement Planning (SIPs). The strategy aims to help ensure that children are healthy and better nourished and able to take full advantage of what is often their only opportunity for formal education. By doing this, SHN promotes learning, and simultaneously reduces repetition and absenteeism, and SHN can be amongst the most cost-effective means of improving educational quality.
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