Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gov. Espino steps up health care for kids

At least 66 percent students from public elementary schools in Pangasinan suffer from worm infestation, 30 percent are underweight while 97 percent have various dental problems according to the health survey disclosed by the Provincial Health Office (PHO).

These alarming health findings prompted Gov. Amado T. Espino to intensify his initiative of deworming and oral health care campaigns in all public schools in the province.

Gov. Espino noticed a lot of feeding programs conducted by concerned agencies but they failed to recognize that a large number of school-age children have intestinal worm infections.

To address the issue, the provincial government, through the PHO, formulated the Essential Health Care Package (EHCP) program for children, which aims to reduce the prevalence of intestinal worm infections by 85 percent and resolve dental problems among school-age children.

The program was launched last Juy 4 in coordination with DepEd employees to the selected pilot schools in the municipalities of Anda, Burgos, Dasol, Binmaley, Calasiao, Sta. Barbara, Bautista, Villasis and Manaoag.

The first round of provincewide deworming for ages 6-12 is done every month of July, while for ages five and below is during the month of April. The second round is scheduled after six months.

All pilot schools, which received a one-year supply of toothbrush, toothpaste and hand soap from the provincial government, are now doing daily tooth brushing and hand washing. Teachers kept a daily close monitoring of the said activity to ensure the continuity of the program.

“Actually, this encompasses the holistic approach because we’re not just doing feeding programs, but also attacking the root cause of malnutrition identified as intestinal parasitism and poor oral health,” Dra. Wilma T. Silva, PHO Infectious Cluster Head, disclosed.

Dra. Silva added that the school is the best facility to institute behavioral change for children so they could imbibe the habit of good hygiene while they are still young.

To augment the resources of the province, NGOs were encouraged to adopt a public school and provide them with a year supply of toothbrush, toothpaste and hand soap.

It has been found that intestinal worm infections and poor oral care affect the physical and mental capabilities of school children to learn effectively. (PIO/Ninia F. Nicolas)

1 comment:

  1. Pangasinan Province is a model province for essential health care package in the Philippines.
    The excellent collaboration between the the Provincial Health Office and DepEd showcases effective public health strategy.
    This is so encouraging and we all can learn a lot from you.