Purpose of the consultancy:
Despite a long history championing school health programmes, Sierra Leone lacks a comprehensive national school health policy and strategy. This gap has become especially critical, given that the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) has prioritized investments in education and health under a human capital agenda
Through this consultancy, an evidence-based School Health Policy & Strategy 2020-2025 will be developed and finalized, through an inclusive consultative process to ensure buy-in and commitment from muti-sectoral stakeholders
The Policy & Strategy will be informed by a preliminary analysis of the most pressing health barriers to children's learning, a review of the state of delivery of School Health interventions, a mapping of key actors, and indicative costs for different proposed school health packages and scenarios commissioned by the GoSL; and preliminary recommendations of the School Health Inter-Ministerial body comprising the Ministries of Health & Sanitation; of Basic and Secondary Education; of Youth Affairs; of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs; and of Planning and Economic Development .
The Policy & Strategy should also be informed by the school health evidence-base, by internationally identified success factors, as well as key challenges in the implementation and up scaling of the health promoting school, (HPS) initiatives, and evolving global standards for Health Promoting Schools.
The School Health Policy & strategy should provide direction and enable the GoSL to prioritize, standardize, administer, monitor and sustain an effective school health programme .
- Human Capital Development is at the centre of Sierra Leone’s new Medium-Term National Development Plan 2019-2013, (MTNDP). Goal two of the plan envisages ‘a nation with educated, empowered, and healthy citizens capable of realizing their fullest potential’. This goal will require sustained, effective investments in health and education.
- For the next five years, the government’s Free Quality School Education (FQSE) programme “will provide a solid base to enhance human capital and facilitate the transformation of the economy”. FQSE is already increasing opportunities for Sierra Leone’s growing youth population (50% of which is under 20; and 40.8% under 15) to access school. This brings with it opportunities for widening the reach of effective school-based health interventions.
- Global data on mortality and morbidity reveals that most child deaths are preventable or treatable. Guided by a well-considered School Health Policy, providing well-evidenced, cost effective health packages in schools can help to raise health and learning indicators, especially among disadvantaged groups.
- A high level inter-ministerial meeting has provided preliminary guidance on the design of a School health programme. The design envisions; i) a health promotional and preventive package for all schools; ii) a more comprehensive package for boarding schools which will have school clinics or sick bays with full time effort health care providers; and for all schools, iii) strong linkages with strengthened contiguous Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities, able to provide a broad range of health care services for school-age children and adolescents. In this way the population of School-age children in Sierra Leone, a population that is not well-served by traditional health systems, will also benefit as part of the GoSL’s commitment to Universal Health Coverage
Summary of Assigned Duties and Technical supervision
- The National Consultant will work closely with the lead International Consultant Sierra Leone National School Health Policy & Strategy. S/he will ensure that deliverables are well contextualized, by contributing a depth of understanding of the Sierra Leonean context in the design of the consultation processes and bringing on board local knowledge and learning
- In consultation with the School Health Secretariat and Core Group, s/he will be responsible to ensure that
- Attend an inception meeting to discuss the assignment and his/her work plan with the Core group
- Contribute to the design of a Stakeholder Consultation to review the findings of a school health status review
- Document the proceedings of the stakeholder consultation and extract critical themes/issues that the Policy and Strategy must address; as well as any remaining questions
- Identify and facilitate synergies and linkages with other ongoing Health, Education & other Social Sectoral Policy processes, (e.g. the Sierra Leone Health policy, the Sierra Leone Noncommunicable Diseases policy, Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights of Adolescents etc)
- Facilitate and organize bilateral meetings with stakeholders, as well as field visits, to advance policy dialogue and clarify any outstanding questions
- Facilitate engagement with pupils and students, parents, as well as teachers in order to capture and integrate their views and preferences
- Contribute to the development of a monitoring & evaluation framework grounded in a clear theory of change & results framework; and with clear joint monitoring processes
- Create/identify opportunities to innovate, including through the use of mhealth & modern information technologies
- Work with the international consultant to design organize and facilitate an expanded Core Group workshop to review preliminary proposals on a ZERO DRAFT School Health Policy and strategy. Document issues arising and as feasible their incorporation in the draft policy and strategy
- Work with the MoHS to organize and facilitate Regional stakeholders’ consultative meeting on the Zero Draft of the School Health Policy & Strategy 2020-2025. Document issues arising and as feasible their incorporation in the draft policy and strategy
- Work with the international consultant and core group to design and facilitate a stakeholder consultation to review and validate the DRAFT School Health Policy & Strategy 2020-2025. Incorporate feedback and finalize the Policy & Strategy
- Work with the Core Group to develop an operational plan for School Health, as informed by the School Health Strategy
- Method of work & Technical Supervision
- Will work under the direct supervision of the international consultant, and day to day supervision of the WHO BPEHS Cluster Lead and Core Group School Health
- Will facilitate and provide continuity for the work of the international consultant
- Deliverables and timelines
- Scheduling of stakeholder consultations and field visits
- Meeting reports including a synthesis of key issues arising from all Core group, stakeholder consultations and expanded Core Group consultations
- Meeting reports from all Regional Consultations
- Meeting report of the National School Health policy and Strategy Validation meeting
- School Health Operational Plan
- A University degree in public health, social sciences or equivalent from a recognized University
- Post graduate qualifications in child and adolescent health & development
- At least 5 years' of experience in health or other social sectors
- Experience designing and implementing school and/or adolescent public health and development policies, strategies and programmes
- Demonstrated ability to foster innovation in delivery of public sector social programmes
- Excellent organizational and analytical skills with the ability to coordinate activities and multitask
- Skills and ability to timely synthesize key components and working group outputs
- Ability to effectively coordinate and build consensus across a range of multi-sectoral stakeholders and collaborating agencies.
- Demonstrated ability to produce results
- Strong writing and communication skills
- Expert knowledge of English