This Preventable Issue Is Keeping Kids Out Of School And There's An Easy Solution

29/09/2015 4:29 AM AEST | Updated 29/09/2015 10:40 AM AEST

Preventable disease is one of the major roadblocks keeping children from receiving a quality education.

The HuffPost video featured above details the relationship between health and education, pointing to the basic fact that if more children receive vaccines and preventative care, more children can enroll in school -- and stay there.

The video raises awareness for the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, which are aimed at tackling poverty, climate change and other interconnected issues. 

Though we've made progress physically getting children into school -- net enrollment in sub-Saharan Africa's primary schools has grown from 52 percent in 1990 to 80 percent in 2015, according to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals report -- if students are without access to care, their health suffers. And without good health, regardless of their enrollment in school, they will be unable to fully utilize resources available to them once there.

In worst-case scenarios, children can't physically make it to their classrooms due to the contraction of preventable diseases. Global measles vaccine coverage was at 84 percent in 2013 -- up just 11 percent from 2000. The World Food Program reminds us that hunger, too, keeps millions of primary school children from learning: malnutrition has proven cognitive affects ranging from learning disabilities to memory deficiency. 

The video points out that the converse is also true -- that proper education helps prevent disease contraction. 

Universal primary education would prevent a stunning 700,000 new HIV infections each year, as literacy exposes people to information about at-risk behavior related to disease contraction. This knowledge enables them to take preventative measures. 

UNESCO stresses the importance of school health, awareness and hygiene programs in living out a long, healthy life. Outcomes are only improved the longer students have exposure to such health information: life expectancy is significantly higher for those with a bachelor's degree than those without a high school diploma. 


This September, The Huffington Post launched a What's Working blog series on the SDGs. The world's foremost thought leaders like Ban Ki-moon, Sarah Brown and Melinda Gates weighed in with solutions-oriented approaches to problems related to each goal. We learned the 17 SDGs are anything but mutually exclusive -- rather, they are intrinsically linked. Should the international community fail to to achieve any one, the task of achieving any of the others will become increasingly difficult, if not impossible. To illustrate the importance of how connected the Goals are, HuffPost has honed in on some of the strongest links through videos. Share them on your social networks with the hashtags #SDGs and #GlobalGoals.


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