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PIA Press Release

DepEd launches proper hygiene program

by AC Papa

Legazpi City (21 November) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) introduced an aggressive program that would improve the health and intellectual fitness of elementary and secondary pupils.

Dubbed "Essential Health Care Package for Pilipino Children (ECHP), the program aims to teach students the basic hand and tooth washing practices in school and at home.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus in a visit here on Monday, November 17, said the DepED together with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) launched a nationwide campaign to introduce the EHCP.

Lapus said the EHCP campaign was started in Bukidnon and Ozamis Oriental where the local government units joined the program, leading hand-washing activities in various venues.

He said the DepED wants parents and students to learn that hand-washing and brushing teeth are the most inexpensive and practical way to prevent diarrhea and pneumonia. "This simple act can save the lives of millions of children."

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.

Citing DepED statistics, Lapus said the highest drop out rate in the elementary came from grades one to three because of health reasons. "Records show that common diseases that frequently afflict public school children include dental cavities, worm infections, diarrhea, and respiratory tract infections."

DepED data indicates that 60 per cent of elementary school children nationwide are inflicted with intestinal parasites followed by tooth cavities with 98 per cent.

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."

The EHCP targets some 192,264 students with a project cost of P4 million.

In his visit here on Monday, Secretary Lapus also led the turn-over ceremony for two units of school buildings under the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Safe Schools Project.

The two school buildings located at the Rawis Elementary School and San Francisco National High School, this city cost P2.3 million each. It is among the 12 school edifices built across the region under the UNICEF-assisted school building program.

Lapus with UNICEF Country Representative Vanessa Tobin and City Mayor Noel E. Rosal led the turn-over rites of the two edifice to the DepEd City Superintendent of Schools.

The school building is a hazard-resilient model utilizing concrete and steel which can withstand strong typhoons and other natural calamities.

Lapus said DepEd is currently stepping-up its efforts to strengthen capacities of public schools for disaster reduction. " With the help of UNICEF, the school can truly become a child-friendly place." (PIA Albay) [top]

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