The impact of school health programmes

This report focuses on enrolment, retention of students, learning outcomes and health and nutritional benefits


This report focuses on the impact of school health programmes. School health programmes can cover both the prevention and treatment of disease and malnutrition in a school setting (Snilstveit et al 2016). These services are designed to promote students’ physical, cognitive, and social development. Effective school health programmes are broadly considered to be cost-effective. They build on existing health infrastructure and community partnerships, as well as a skilled workforce in schools (UNICEF 2000). This report focuses on 4 on areas of impact: enrolment; retention/dropout of students; learning outcomes, and health and nutritional benefits of students, families and communities.

The report is divided into impacts at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels where this information was available, but a lot of the literature focused on schools in general. There was more evidence on school health programmes in primary schools than in secondary schools and very little literature found on the impact of health programmes in tertiary education.

K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.


Grant, C. (2017). The impact of school health programmes. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies

The impact of school health programmes

Published 21 April 2017