THE IMPACT OF HEALTH ON EDUCATION

Poor health and malnutrition may stop children from going to school and from learning while there. The equivalent or more than 200 million school years are lost every year in low income countries as a result of poor health, and the impact on learning and understanding is equivalent to a deficit of more than 630 million IQ points.

School health and nutrition programmers’ are one of the most cost impressive interventions that exist to enhance both children’s education and health. They can add four to six points to IQ levels, 10 percent to participation in schooling, and one to two years of education.

Generally, the number of children reaching school age is estimated to be about 1.2 billion children, 18% of the world’s population, with 88% of these children residing in poor developed countries where there is the most sickness.

In general, enhancing health and nutrition brings the highest education benefits to the poor and most vulnerable. For instance, the greatest benefits of deworming are found in children who have heavy worm loads and less nutritional status.

In many countries, girls are enrolled at and attend school less than boys. Malaria prevention can help decrease the enrolment gap between boys and girls, as can enhancing access to safe water and hygienic sanitation environment see school sanitation.

Stunting (low height for age) and underweight (low weight for age): These disorder are dangerous and very common in school-age children in low income countries and are frequently connected to poor mental and educational development as children approaches school age. Poor school performance can also cause from common deficiencies of micronutrients including iron, iodine and vitamin A.

Globally, millions of children are mostly infected with parasitic helminths (or parasitic worms), with the highest burden of disease in the poorest countries. Helminth infections are the largest contributor to the disease burden of children aged 5 to 14 years both in terms of frequence and intensity of infection, and are thought to account for over 12% of the general disease burden in girls and over 11% of the burden in boys. Chronic worm infection can contribute to malnutrition via loss of appetite, malabsorption of nutrients and anaemia through loss of blood (particularly in the case of whipworm and schistosoma infections).  Children with chronic worm infections may be stunted and underweight, which in turn can cause long term retardation of physical and mental development.

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