Health promotion in schools : perceptions of the health promoters
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Schools are seen as one of the most important settings for the implementation of health promotion strategies in communities. The establishment of effective health promotion in schools is therefore regarded as one of the most essential factors in the improvement of education and community health across South Africa. Health promotion programmes at schools can have an impact on a significant amount of learners, reaching the core of a community and improve the overall health status of people living in the area. Effective health promotion can increase a community’s capacity and the empower individuals to take charge of their own health. Although health promotion plays an essential role in the improvement of community health, this study has revealed significant inadequacies and shortcomings within the health promotion sector of South Africa which correlates strongly with international patterns. The aim of the study was to explore the perceptions of health promoters regarding the status of health promotion at schools situated in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda district, North West province of South Africa. The study followed a qualitative approach to achieve the research aim. Focus group interviews were conducted so as to obtain the perceptions of the respective health promoters. The data collected was analysed to reveal patterns with regards to common perceptions of a selection of health promoters in the study area. The patterns were then compared with international trends to reveal common denominators. From the results, guidelines were generated with recommendations to improve the inadequacies related to health promotion identified during the research. The results obtained during the study revealed that the sample health promoters view themselves as a link between the Department of Health and the community. A prevalent perception among the participants is that they perceive their main role as the custodians of health education in communities and to assist nurses with health screenings. The interviews also showed that the health promoters in the study area experience certain barriers in the execution of their day to day tasks. These barriers mainly relate to difficulty in their attempts to engage with the Department of Health and the Department of Education. Moreover, the study showed that a severe lack of knowledge and skills, poor support from government sectors, negligence regarding the allocation of resource and recognition are some of the prevalent obstacles that health promoters face to effectively perform their roles and responsibility at schools and community. Consequently, the inadequacies related to health promotion hamper the implementation of health strategies in communities leading to poor health at schools. iv showed that a severe lack of knowledge and skills, poor support from government sectors, negligence regarding the allocation of resource and recognition are some of the prevalent obstacles that health promoters face to effectively perform their roles and responsibility at
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