Luistro orders strengthening of health and nutrition programs in schools

A July 6, 2011 press release by the Department of Education

The Department of Education is coming up with a more comprehensive approach to improve the health and nutrition of school children and translate this to better learning outcome, reduced drop-out and improved school retention rate.

Through DepEd Order 43 s. 2011, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the department is strengthening its school health and nutrition programs, aligning it with other existing activities to come up with one seamless whole.

“It is very important that our school children are taught disease prevention and the right attitude on health and nutrition to enhance their motivation and capacity for learning,” Luistro said.

Luistro added that these initiatives are in line with the Education For All and Millennium Development Goals of improving education outcomes, reducing absenteeism and ensuring that school-aged children remain in school.

Luistro also sought the active participation of other government agencies, the local government units, non-government organizations and the private sector on preventive health care, poverty alleviation, hunger mitigation, and health awareness.

“Health and nutrition is a concern that needs the attention of all sectors because it directly impacts our education and economic system,” he explained.

Thus, DepEd is intensifying its medical, dental and nursing services throughout the year as a preventive measure to protect the students, teachers and non-teaching personnel against diseases.

It will also conduct nutritional assessment, including the eating habits of students so that the information gathered can be used to map out a more responsive health and nutrition intervention. Discussion of nutrition concepts will also be included in the curriculum.

The twice a year school-based deworming program will also be continued to prevent soil-transmitted helminthiasis. This is augmented by the conduct of good hygiene practice in school such as proper handwashing, wearing of slippers and shoes, drinking of potable water and regular clipping of fingernails.

DepEd will also continue its student vision and auditory screening and refer those needing assistance to partner organizations. Visual and auditory problems result to slow learning and eventual dropping out.

The oral health care program will also be earnestly pursued through the 7’oclock tooth brushing activity. Here, students are taught the habit of proper oral hygiene as a preventive way of reducing absenteeism.

In partnership with the Department of Agriculture, DepEd is set to expand the coverage of Gulayan sa Paaralan aimed at establishing school gardens as food baskets to provide a ready source of nutritious food for children and school personnel.

To address the problem of children coming to school on an empty stomach which affect their school performance, DepEd will implement the school feeding program where students are provided hot meals following the standard recipes which utilize food grown from the campus food baskets.

The other complementary programs for the schools and the community are school-based HIV and AIDS education prevention program, national drug education program, traditional and alternative health care, teachers health enhancement program, tuberculosis prevention and control program and psycho-social intervention.

deped.gov.ph