In collaboration with School Health Department and under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE), Primary Health Care Corporation’s (PHCC) Wellness Department at the Preventive Health Directorate, ran a Wellness Community School Program for the academic year 2022-2023.
The wellness program designed for students is defined as overall health development and quality of life on the physical, mental, and social aspects. Hence, creating awareness on healthy eating habits, meeting the general recommendations of exercise for their age, as well as improving healthy sleeping habits and properly coping with stress are crucial factors to achieve wellness or well-being and create a healthy and academic environment for students.
Head of Wellness for Community Interventions at PHCC, Dr. Abdul Hammed Al Khenji, noted that among the aims of this program is to create awareness, educate, and promote strategies for healthy eating, exercise, sleep, and coping with stress to improve students’ quality of life and academic performance in primary, preparatory and secondary school children. This ensures to provide students with positive behaviors, self-confidence, and self-direction by increasing the values, experiences, relationships, and qualities that have been identified to benefit young people and improve students' health and a healthy weight through healthy lifestyle promotion.
Al Khenji added that 10 schools were randomly selected for the program’s first year from primary, preparatory, and secondary schools targeting both girls and boys, based on specific criteria to be enrolled according to its health center.
The chosen schools are Umm Salma Primary School for Girls, Hamad bin Abdullah Secondary School for Boys, Al Obeib Primary School for Girls, Qatar Preparatory School for Girls, Muhammad bin Abdulaziz Al Mana Secondary School for Boys, Hajar Primary School for Girls, Sumaya Primary School for Girls, Abu Bakr Al Siddiq Preparatory School for Boys, Rouda bint Mohammed Secondary School for Girls, and Saad Bin Moaz Primary School for Boys.
Additionally, from among the chosen schools, only one class was randomly selected to be included in the pilot.
PHCC Wellness staff consisting of a health coach and a fitness instructor visited chosen schools on monthly basis, coordinating with school directives and considering staff’s availability, to deliver the planned content of the monthly activities to students and share it with other school staff to avoid overloading staff.
School staff were informed in advance of their role during the activities, so that they are aware of their supporting tasks. The activities’ subjects were chosen to achieve the program’s objective: to improve habits and behaviors for an integrated healthy lifestyle, such as encouraging physical activity, maintaining an integrated healthy diet, healthy sleep, mental behaviors, and avoiding bad behaviors, such as smoking.
Through several monthly activities in the schools chosen, awareness lectures, workshops and various events were held with the participation of school staff. Articles, assignments, video clips, and other educational materials were downloaded by the wellness staff. All activities were evaluated through periodic surveys, monthly evaluation, and achievements in the school on periodic basis, following each activity and in two periods: before starting the program and after completing all the activities and health topics at the end of the academic year. Further, schools were honored with commemorative shields and certificates.