Nelson Mandela University’s Human Movement Science Department will officially launch the Healthy Schools for Healthy Communities – the KaziBantu Project on 11 October.
The KaziBantu Project is funded by the Novartis Foundation and is a joint collaboration between Basel University in Switzerland, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, and Nelson Mandela University.
The KaziBantu Project emanates from the DASH Project (Disease, Activity and Schoolchildren’s Health), a joint venture between the same three educational institutions, funded by the Swiss/SA joint research programme. The project spanned three years, and culminates in the 2017 symposium, where the results of the study will be shared.
The health of 1000 schoolchildren, from eight disadvantaged schools in Port Elizabeth was assessed, and interventions focusing on Physical Activity, Health and Hygiene and Nutrition were implemented.
The results pertaining to the effect of helminth infections (worms) on the growth and development, fitness and academic and psycho-social health of children, will be shared at the symposium.
The important role of schools in enhancing children’s health will be discussed.
The KaziBantu Project aims to upscale the DASH project to benefit more schools in South Africa and in other countries in Africa. A children’s toolkit, with resources (teaching material, lesson plans) for primary schools (Grades 1 to 7) in relation to Physical Education, health and hygiene and nutrition is being developed.
In addition, teacher’s health will be another focus. Research has shown that teachers are at risk, with high levels of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. A teacher’s toolkit is being prepared to educate and empower teachers to make changes to benefit their health. This includes lifestyle coaching and the use of smart information technology, in the form of a cell phone app, to support teachers in the journey towards a healthier life.
The KaziBantu Project has the support of the Department of Health and the Department of Education, who will be represented at the symposium.
The keynote speakers include Dr Ann Aerts – Head of the Novartis Foundation; Dr Patricia Machawira – UNESCO Regional Advisor for Sub-Saharan Africa; Mrs Helene Budliger Artieda – Swiss Ambassador; Prof Hedwig J. Kaiser – Vice-President at the University of Basel in Switzerland and Prof Derrick Swartz – Vice Chancellor of Nelson Mandela University.
To celebrate the official KaziBantu Project launch, 60 colourful (and biodegradable) helium balloons will be released at 4pm on Wednesday 11 October. The balloons have been tagged and the first three people to find a tag, and follow the instructions, will receive prizes.