Promoting health and well-being for all in Africa: The role of EMIS

04 August 2022



Across Western and Central Africa, health and education sectors have come together to promote education for health and well-being for all young people and adolescents. This is being done by integrating basic health indicators into the education management information systems (EMIS) of 11 countries in the region, as part of a regional capacity development programme with IIEP-UNESCO and UNESCO Dakar.

In educational planning, EMIS is the primary source of quality data to drive stronger education system planning and policy dialogue. In this area, IIEP provides technical cooperation and training to help education systems improve data collection, analysis, and use in decision-making to help transform and improve education systems.

Including basic health indicators in EMIS enables education to play its role in protecting the health and well-being for all children and youth, a key part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Access to a quality education and lifelong learning is a path to ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all. In the race to 2030, SDG 4 can accelerate progress for all other fundamental rights, including SDG 3.

UNESCO’s 2022 Strategy on Education for Health and Well-Being reinforces this, as it calls for safe and inclusive school systems that promote the physical and mental health and well-being of learners who are empowered by comprehensive, good quality, gender-transformative sexuality education.

The goal of the strategy is to contribute to improved health and education outcomes for all learners through support to national education sectors and other key stakeholders to adopt a comprehensive approach to school health and well-being. This in turn will contribute to achievement of the SDGs, particularly those at the nexus of education, health, and gender equality.

Education for health and well-being is essential for all children and youth to acquire accurate knowledge, positive attitudes and values, and the skills to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. However, to be effective such education programmes must be adapted to context and gender, age groups, and geographical factors. High-qualified teachers are also needed, as well as the participation of parents and communities.

Within this context, UNESCO launched the Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O³) Programme to support African countries with improving their health and wellness education policies and curricula in implementing health and wellness education that promotes respect for human rights and gender equality and empowers children and youth with the knowledge and means to lead healthy, safe, and productive lives.

To ensure successful implementation of education for health and well-being, the O³ program also supports countries in their efforts to collect and use relevant evidence, including the use of international indicators. In this context, the regional capacity building programme for the integration of education and health and well-being indicators in EMIS launched in 2021 with IIEP and UNESCO Dakar, and will continue to work throughout 2022, to consolidate progress and develop national capacities.

The overall goal is for EMIS professionals and partners to be better supported in policy formulation and decision-making on the implementation of health and wellness education for all based on sound evidence-based information and analysis. Ultimately, it aims to build capacity for data collection, analysis, and reporting in EMIS to monitor and evaluate the delivery of health and wellness education for all.

The regional programme initially brought together national teams for virtual workshops and technical consultations – totaling more than 110 participants – from nine countries in West and Central Africa (WCA): Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Senegal.

By November 2021, all the participating countries observed strong progress in integrating core indicators into EMIS tools, a major achievement given the current health crisis. By 2022, two new national teams joined the programme, the Republic of Congo and Gabon.

In July 2022, the first face-to-face workshop also took place for the programme in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its focus was on improving the quality of the Annual School Census (ASC) tools and the EMIS data collection process to collect reliable and valid data on the core indicators on health and well-being.

"The experiences of the countries represented, and the knowledge gained during this workshop will certainly serve as a lever to better support policy formulation and informed decision-making on health and well-being education for all, based on solid evidence and pertinent analysis.”
-    Christine Nepa Nepa, Secretary General of the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and Literacy.

Over several days, the national teams discussed how to collect and use quality data for the different indicators, setting in a motion a new dynamic for the promotion of and access to quality sexual and reproductive health services that are adapted to the specific needs of young learners in the region.

In July 2022, the 11 participating countries gathered in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, for the regional workshop on improving EMIS data collection tools to review progress and share best practices.


The workshop was also an opportunity to share good practices and experiences at the regional level and ended with a roadmap of concrete actions expressed by each participating country for improving EMIS data collection tools and processes, as well as starting data analysis.

For the region, the first results on the key indicators on health and well-being are expected for the end of 2022.