Factors that Influence the Dissemination and Implementation of a School Health Policy
The policy on school health is ineffectively disseminated and poorly implemented in many contexts. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the factors that influence the dissemination and implementation of a policy on school health in Bayelsa state in southern Nigeria. A qualitative approach (using an exploratory, descriptive and contextual research design) was used to achieve the aim of the study. Non-probability purposive sampling was used to select 24 participants for the study. Semi-structured individual interviews and an Olympus VN-7800 audio tape were used to collect data. The data were analysed concurrently using line-by-line the six inductive steps of a thematic analysis as well as Atlas ti version 8.0 to ensure consistency of the findings. The results show that bureaucracy, ineffective monitoring and evaluation, insufficient financial support, political interference, lack of equity of service delivery, poor working conditions, ineffective communication, and lack of knowledge and awareness are perceived as barriers to such a policy. Accessibility to policy documents, collaborative partnership, existing school health programmes, and competent and willing personnel are perceived as positive factors for the dissemination and implementation of such a policy. This study would contribute towards the improvement of school health and educational practices if the findings and recommendations are implemented appropriately.