Evaluation of effectiveness of "Advocacy" on efficiency of health promoting schools in Jolfa
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Background and objectives: Health promoting schools (HPS) is a global concept designed to implement the United Nations goal of health and education for all. This program has been developed over the past decade by WHO and currently is implemented globally, including in Iran. The present study was designed to test the effectiveness of the advocacy approach as a strategy for overcoming the challenges and administrative barriers of the HPS program. Methodology: An intervention-type study was undertaken using a pretest-posttest design from March 2012 to November 2013 in Jolfa Township in northwest Iran. All 26 participating schools were entered into the study. The total participant population took a pretest designed based on external audit checklists; the posttest was administered after implementation of the advocacy program. The quantitative data was compiled using SPSS V.16 statistical software. The qualitative data were also collected in the form of visual documentation. Results: The results showed that there was a significant difference after intervention in the target population for average scores of all octoploid components of the HPS program: comprehensive health education program (p<0.001), provision of clinical services for students (p<0.001), the community and health of the school (p<0.001), nutrition(p<0.001), physical activity (p<0.001), health of school personnel (p<0.001), mental health and consultations (p<0.001), and parent-communityparticipation (p<0.001). The intervention plan resulted in advocacy by the target organizations, who all signed memorandums of understanding and adopted new supportive policies for Health Promoting Schools. Conclusions: The significant difference between the pretest and posttest average scores of the octoploid components after implementation of the advocacy program and the subsequent adoption of supportive policies by all participants confirms the positive effect of the intervention plan.