Academic journal article Journal of School Health

School Health Services in the People's Republic of China

Academic journal article Journal of School Health

School Health Services in the People's Republic of China

Article excerpt

In the People's Republic of China, about 27% of the population is younger than age 20. (1) From a national perspective, child health represents not only individual well-being, but strength and fitness for the nation as a whole. Since the revolution in 1949, teams of specialists have provided child and adolescent health care in China. (1,2)

The Dept. of Maternity and Child Hygiene governs infant health care. Maternal and child health is a relatively independent system that includes health centers for children as well as maternity and child care centers. School health care, including colleges, is supervised by a system of health and anti-epidemic stations in which Depts. of School Health are established by provincial governments as well as city, district, and county authorities. The work of school doctors, nurses, and health care teachers involves two professional branches: child health care and school health care. Child health care is associated closely with pediatrics and obstetrics, while school health is more associated with educational and health promotion activities. (1) The tasks of the Dept. of School Health in the health and anti-epidemic stations include five components: supervision, surveillance, scientific research, professional training, and health information services. (3-6)

Supervision. School health supervision is part of a national program carried out under the authority of local health departments. School health supervision is subdivided further into preventive health and regular health supervision activities.

Preventive Health Supervision. Health organization at the national, provincial, and municipal levels implement health laws, regulations, and ordinances established by the Ministry of Public Health with the goal of supervising school health activities including allocation of land for construction, supply of architectural designs, supervision of new school buildings, and hygienic consultations on renovating old buildings for educational purposes. (1,2) Preventive health services supervise manufacturing of school desks and chairs, production and sale of books used in school, and manufacture of equipment used in schools for educational and recreational purposes. Land, buildings, and materials used in schools must be approved by preventive health services before use. Health supervisors are responsible for ensuring that health codes and regulations established centrally are followed. When infractions of health standards and regulations are found, health inspectors can order the head of the offending unit to cease construction, production, or selling. (2,6)

Regular Health Supervision. This aspect of health supervision includes ensuring that schools implement national plans related to school health. Regular health supervision also involves research that includes both epidemiologic studies of childhood illness as well as studies of environmental factors that may negatively influence child and adolescent health. In addition, surveillance of sanitation and hygiene of institutions that serve children and youth is another activity. Other activities include student study work schedules, food and nutrition of students, control of communicable diseases, physical training of sports and health, and training appropriate personnel in child development and health-related issues. Supervisors of school inspection in general are trained in child and adolescent health. The supervisory staff usually is assisted by school physicians and health care teachers who perform regular health supervision. (2,6)

Surveillance. Child and adolescent health surveillance ranks among the most important activity of the health and anti-epidemic stations. At the provincial level, health and anti-epidemic stations develop plans that demand local stations to identify target schools in both urban and rural areas as surveillance points. At these sites, intense student assessment is undertaken, usually during May and June each year. …

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