Moving from conversation to commitment: Optimising school-based health promotion in the Western Cape, South Africa
Filies, Gerard C.
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Background: Recent evaluation of the Interdisciplinary Health Promotion (IHP) course offered by the University of the Western Cape (UWC) at schools revealed that the needs expressed by the schools had not changed in the last five years. Objectives: This paper describes the process that was undertaken to identify specific interventions that would have an impact on the schools and, in turn, the broader community, and provides an overview of the interventions conducted in 2011 - 2012. Methods: A stakeholder dialogue explored notions of partnership between the university and the schools, sustainability of health promotion programmes in the schools, and social responsiveness of the university. An action research design was followed using the nominal group technique to gain consensus among the stakeholders as to which interventions are needed, most appropriate and sustainable. Results: A comprehensive plan of action for promoting health in schools was formulated and implemented based on the outcome of the stakeholder dialogue. Conclusion: The study's findings reiterate that an ongoing dialogue between schools and higher education institutions is imperative in building sustainable partnerships to respond to health promotion needs of the school community.