Frederick Douglass once said that "it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." A good foundation is key and a sound education is paramount. And we must keep the children healthy, otherwise it would be almost impossible to keep their minds strong and clear. Magkasama dapat ang education at ang health.
Unfortunately, too many children in the Philippines are burdened by everyday afflictions that affect their physical and mental development and limit them from getting the most from their education. Ang daming sakit ng batang Pinoy! Worm infections, severe tooth decay, diarrhea, stomachaches, and skin infections contribute to poor participation and school absenteeism. Kahit ang best schools, hindi maka-assure ng high academic performance when students are frequently sick or complain of pain. However, many of these diseases and ailments are preventable. There are simple, scientifically proven interventions that greatly limit their occurrence and transmission. The key is good hygiene. Yun lang.
This is what Cromwell Bacareza, program coordinator for the Fit For School Inc, wants to inculcate to all parents and teachers. Fit for School Inc. is a Philippine Non-Governmental Organization committed to promote the simple and cost-effective Essential Health Care Package (EHCP) in public elementary schools, preschools and day care centers. The EHCP is a national flagship program of the Department of Education, supported by international development partners as well as corporate partners. It consists of three interventions: daily hand washing with soap, daily tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste and a biannual deworming activity. These are all conducted in public institutions such as public schools and day care centers. The package successfully addresses the high-impact childhood diseases in the Philippines.
"The Fit for School has a number of activities, the most notable is its implementation of the Essential Health Care Program. It teaches kids the basics: how to wash their hands with soap, brush their teeth with fluoride, wear footwear, and get dewormed - all habits that impact their quality of life. But the health campaign also gives communities a sense of responsibility for their own well-being, so they source water and build washing facilities where there are none.
"The program is really about change, a change in habits among children," Cromwell says. Currently, more than 900,000 schoolchildren are receiving access to basic hygiene interventions in 25 provinces all over the Philippines.
Helping Children To Get Healthy
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