Manolito, a Grade VI pupil, is absent from the class today. His excuse letter says he suffers from toothache and that he needs to see a dentist and take a rest. Elsa, third grader, has been out from class since last week. Her mother informed the teacher through text message that she has stomach ache.
To address the problem on absenteeism, poor academic performance, high drop-out rate, and malnutrition among public school pupils, Department of Education teamed up with Colgate Palmolive Philippines in its program called Essential Health Care Program (EHCP) supported by the League of Provinces of the Philippines.
On June 20, a week after the opening of classes, 4000 pupils of Malaybalay City Central School from Kinder to Grade VI received EHCP kits.
Each set had a toothbrush from Colgate and toothpaste from Happee in continuation of the brand’s “Bright Smiles for Bright Future Program”that promotes oral health education among public school children.
These are used by the pupils during the daily tooth brushing after recess and lunch time especially those who bring their lunch to school in the Division of Malaybalay City. Teachers see to it that the kids do the toothbrushing and hand washing every day. The kit also has soap for daily hand washing.
On July 22 in time for the celebration of the Nutrition Month, MCCS joined the National Deworming Day. First, pupils washed their hands with soap following the proper handwashing procedure. Next, they ate their foods/baon to make sure their stomachs are full before they take in the deworming medicine. Then, at exactly 10:00 AM, when they heard the buzzer to signal the simultaneous deworming, they took in the chewable Albendazole. Lastly, pupils brushed their teeth.
Barangay Health Workers and district nurses monitored the conduct of the deworming activity.They also checked if kids had stomach reactions brought about by the deworming medicine which they said were only normal.
Deworming of school children in the whole Division is done twice every school year. The next conduct of deworming will be on January next year.
Essential Health Care Program is stipulated in DepEd Order No. 65 s. 2009 making sure that all school children gain proper nutrition to get good education with the hope that no more Manolito or Elsa will have to miss classes.
Irene A. Dinlayan
School Health Coordinator/T-III
Malaybalay City Central School