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PIA Press Release

DepEd launches proper hygiene program in Bicol schools

By Mar Arguelles

Legazpi City (18 November) -- THE Department of Education (DepEd) introduced on Monday an aggressive program which will present a health practice that would improve the health and intellectual fitness of every elementary and secondary pupils across the region.

The program dubbed as "Essential Health Care Package for Rilipino Children (EHCP) aims to teach students the basic had and tooth washing practices in schools.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus on Monday that his agency together with the Department of Health and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. launched a nationwide campaign to introduce the EHCP.

Lapus said he started the campaign in Bukidnon and Ozamis Oriental where in local government units joined the program at various venues leading a hand washing activities that is expected to address child mortality.

The DepEd wants parents and students to learn that hand washing and brushing their teeth are the most inexpensive and practical way to prevent diarrhea and pneumonia," Lapus said.

This simple act can save the lives of millions of children he explained.

With 2008 as the United Nations Year of Sanitation, the practice of hand washing with soap is considered the most economical means of preventing diseases, especially in far-flung villages where access to sanitation is inadequate.

He said washing with soap and water reduces the incidence of death from diarrhea and respiratory diseases among children by 44 per cent, Lapus said.

Citing DepEd statistics Lapus said the highest drop out rate in the elementary came from grades one to three because of health reasons.

Records reveal that common diseases that frequently afflicts public school children include dental cavities, worm infections, diarrhea, and respiratory tract infections.

These are health problems suffered by children that triggers them to stop schooling, Lapus said.

Data indicates that 60 percent of elementary school children nationwide are inflicted with intestinal parasites followed by tooth cavities with 98 percent.

The EHCP targets some 192,264 students with a project cost of Php 4 million.

Lapus called on the full cooperation from parents and teachers in raising a community of children with clean hands and bright smiles - it takes an entire village to raise a healthy child." (DepEd) [top]

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