Johannesburg – Today the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) will host a virtual dialogue with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) and support security and the openness of the COVID-19 School.
For the first time, representatives from two ministries from more than 20 countries in East and South Africa will come together to share the latest knowledge and best practices in the country, and to develop action plans essential to keeping students and teachers safe and open-minded Institutions.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, 127 million preschool, primary and secondary school students in several countries were barred from attending school for more than one year for months, adding to the 37 million children who are already out of school. Schools in prepandemic areas. By early 2021, all countries in the East and South Africa region had opened part or all of their schools, and all groups were encouraged to return to personal training – also on a rotating basis. The emergence of a new coronavirus variant and a spike in new infections sparked a second wave of pandemics in several countries, resulting in greater school closures in affected countries, including Esvatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa. There are currently three countries in the region – Botswana, Uganda and Somalia – that do not have fully open schools.
Lieke van de Ville, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for East and South Africa, said: “Trends and lessons in the region show that school renewal is far from linear. Today’s event is an important milestone in our continuing efforts for the education and health sectors in every country. work together for the good of children’s overall development and take a coherent and shared approach to maintaining open and sustainable education. Safe schools. They lose too much when they are at home not interacting with their peers and not learning. “
More than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic was announced, there is now a better understanding of the role children and schools play in COVID-19 transmission. There is evidence that children are at low risk of catching the virus and transmitting it, and that schools are not a place for greater community transmission if precautions are taken.
“The impact of school closings and school breaks has been felt by millions of children and their families in the area. We can start to prevent some of the damage by keeping schools safe and open through effective COVID-19 prevention,” said Dr. . Abdu Salam Guy, Regional Director for Emergencies, WHO Regional Office for Africa. “Action to combat the pandemic must not cause any deeper damage. Every effort should be made so that children continue to learn while taking care of their health.”
Host partners and participating countries will share the latest knowledge and best practices, and jointly develop action plans for COVID-19, children and schools, with a focus on the following areas.
Policy coordination and decision-making with clear roles and responsibilities between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Health and other first line ministries In South Africa, for example, systematic partnerships between the Ministry of Health and Defense, other frontline ministries, and civil society at the national and subnational levels has resulted in fact-based decision making on COVID-19, the opening and closing of children and schools.
Monitor and manage COVID-19 in schools by introducing an effective and transparent monitoring system and information flow between the local and national levels. For example, in Malawi, the surveillance system begins by collecting data at the local school level and reporting to the Ministry of Health at the district and national levels, which then passes the information on to the Ministry of Defense about an evidence-based decision to disclose. and closed schools.
Prevent transmission and reduce risk in schools through effective measures such as infection control measures at school and community levels. In Esvatini, for example, schools are regularly inspected for compliance with school opening procedures.
Consultative and responsive involvement of community stakeholders in planning, implementing and monitoring school opening by building existing cross-sectoral platforms for community coordination. In Namibia, for example, schools have an integrated school health working group that includes representatives from the wider community.
Today’s event is the first of two joint continental dialogues between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health. The next one is planned for the West and Central Africa region later this year. The UNICEF framework for school reform, co-financed by UNESCO, UNHCR, MSP and the World Bank, provides practical advice to national and local authorities. Guidelines focus on policy reform; Funding needs; Safe operation; Balance training; Health and protection and reaching the most marginalized children.
Subscribe to our mailing list and get the latest news, new job openings, and updates in your inbox.