Implementation of the Global School Health Survey in Jamaica: Adolescents in Spanish Town high schools empowered to lead behaviour change

1 Mar 2023
Information collect for GSHS project in St. Catherine

In early 2023, students at selected high schools in Spanish Town participated in a global initiative,“Empowering adolescents to lead change using health data”, designed to develop, document and support the implementation of an intervention approach to improve the health of students. The intervention is being led by the National Council on Drug Abuse in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), University of Bern, Switzerland and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The health-related data is collected through the implementation of the Global School Health Survey (GSHS) and the Global School Health Policies and Practices Study (G-SHPPS) developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), other United Nations agencies, and the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The information collected will be used to develop priorities, establish programmes and advocate for resources for school health and youth health programmes and policies.

Over three thousand students in 23 participating high schools were given the opportunity to complete questionnaires on health behaviours. Weight and height measurements were taken from students to establish their body mass index. Over eight days, these students wore movement sensors to assess their physical activity behaviours.

Recently the Guy’s Hill High School hosted the PAHO Country Office team, represented by Dr. Audrey Morris, Advisor for Food and Nutrition and Ms. Sislyn Malcolm, Field Coordinator. The PAHO team observed the survey administrators as they carried out their tasks in implementing the survey and interacted with the participating students.

The project's next phase is scheduled for June 2023, where the students will provide their voices to the barriers and facilitators to be healthy in their current school and community environment.