The Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in partnership with UNICEF launch the School Medical Screening program to connect Public Schools with Primary Health Care Centres

12 March 2024
During the launch of the School Medical Screening program

12 March 2024, Beirut –The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) in partnership with UNICEF, announced today the launch of the School Health Screening program to reach all children in public schools with an essential quality medical check-up.

The program, funded by the European Union, the German government through KfW Development Bank, France and the United States Governments, will be implemented between March and April 2024 and will ensure that 400,000 children across 1000 public schools across Lebanon are screened by a medical team from Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) including a doctor and a registered nurse. The team will examinate students for growth monitoring, their vaccines record and screen for various health conditions including eye, ear, cardiac, respiratory, skin, and others.

Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Abbas Al-Halabi, said: “Health and education are the most important pillars in a society’s development. Public schools include students coming from the most vulnerable societies who are in need of health care. This programme will help screening Childrens’ general health, and early detect any health issues.  We call on having it implemented in all private schools as well, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health and we thank the taskforce teams at the Ministries of Health and Education, UNICEF, and all donors and stakeholders supporting this programme”.

The School Medical Screening program aims to reach children with preventive and promotive health, early diagnosis, and referral while using the school platform to create awareness on various topics among the next generation. The importance of this screening is its timely detection and referral of any child who needs medical support, and the interlinkage between public schools and PHCS for better follow-up and planned interventions, while enhancing access to essential health services not just for children but for the entire family. MEHE, MOPH and UNICEF are coordinating to ensure that all children across all public schools participate in the health screening.

Minister of Public Health, Dr. Firas Al-Abiad, said: “The program we are launching today meets the National Health Strategy objectives that the Ministry launched a year ago, which is based on placing primary care as a cornerstone. The joint work between the Ministries of Health and Education leads to creating a path to continue the service. It is essential to provide health care from an early age to avoid many diseases and complications”. he added: “We appreciate the support provided by our partners from the international community and we call on continuing the joint responsibility to support Lebanon bearing the heavy burdens that the country is unable to hold alone”.

“Children’s health and nutrition are key determinants of education outcomes and with increased poverty a majority of families in Lebanon cannot afford access to preventive healthcare,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon. “Investing in the health, nutrition and well-being of students is as important as investing in education provision to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education. I want to thank the funding support of the European Union, the German government through KfW development bank, France and the United States Governments for supporting this initiative. Healthy, well-nourished children and adolescents learn better, and as adults they lead healthier and more productive lives”.

In Lebanon, School Health and medical screening has been taking place across public schools till 2017-18 in collaboration with the private sector, but this critical activity was stopped with the unfolding of the crisis. MoPH and MEHE are collaborating to re-initiate this important initiative with a system strengthening approach through close linkage and collaboration between PHCCs and Schools as they strongly believe in the importance of monitoring students health and anchoring the whole family and community to the PHCs.

The PHC Department at the MoPH, in collaboration with the MEHE, have mapped PHCCs to Schools and conducted capacity building of all selected PHCCs based on the protocol and reporting mechanism. The close collaboration of the MoPH and the MEHE is a great example of joint efforts in improving the Health and Education of children in Lebanon.

Media contacts

Christophe Boulierac
Chief of Communications
United Nations Children’s Fund Lebanon
Blanche Baz
Communication Specialist
United Nations Children’s Fund Lebanon


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