Keeping students healthy so they can learn

Global health programs often overlook the needs of children older than five, yet kids still get sick after they turn six. At Healthy Learners, we overcome this gap by connecting the health and education sectors. We train teachers as community health workers who monitor and respond to the health needs of students, coordinate preventative care within the school, and provide health education. We are working with the Zambian government to scale our model.

Using schools to improve children's health

School-aged children in low and middle-income countries remain highly exposed to a number of illnesses, including malaria, respiratory infections, worm infestation and diarrheal diseases. These conditions negatively impact their development and contribute to school absenteeism and poor academic performance. 

Our integrated school health model targets this vulnerable population with high impact interventions in a convenient location - their schools,  whose personnel can monitor them daily and are more likely to engender the trust of children and their families—their teachers. 

Using data to amplify impact

We use data to guide our programs, support our local partners, and measure our impact. Data collected daily by our trained teachers enables us to monitor and quickly respond to disease trends across schools and communities. An external evaluation of our model by the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health published in May of 2019 found our model led to the following results:

Increase in student health knowledge



Increase in Vitamin A and Deworming Coverage


Reduction in student morbidity


Reduction in the odds of stunting

Moving Towards Scale

Having spent the past five years developing, evaluating and refining our model across all 105 public primary schools in Zambia's capital of Lusaka serving  250,000 students, we are now working with the Zambian Ministries of Health and Education to scale the model into a national school health program. Our goal is for Zambia to serve as a model for how governments throughout the region can improve student health.

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