TO ensure that schoolchildren are provided with basic primary health and dental care, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor M. Briones recently led the launch of Oplan Kalusugan (OK) sa DepEd Program, and recognized the vital role of all DepEd health personnel in the delivery of quality, accessible, relevant and liberating basic education for all.
Briones presented this new initiative, together with Undersecretary for Administration Alain del Pascua and other DepEd officials, during the 2017 National Conference of DepEd Health Workers on December 7 and 8 at the Hotel Stotsenberg in Pampanga, which was attended by around 1,100 DepEd health personnel nationwide.
“This OK sa DepEd Program is a converging effort where health plans, policies, programs and activities are implemented to ensure that all schoolchildren are provided with basic primary health and dental care to allow them to attain their full educational potential,” Briones explained.
“It will also ensure that all DepEd school health personnel and schoolchildren practice healthier behavior that they can do on their own, and get linked up with health providers and local government units [LGUs] for child and adolescent health services,” she added.
The OK sa DepEd Program is set to take its full implementation in July, school year 2018-2019, in close collaboration with the Department of Health, LGUs and various stakeholders at the local and national levels.
Some of the major school health programs of the department include the School-Based Feeding program; Drug Education campaign; Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) Education Program; Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Program; and medical, dental and nursing services.
Other school health advocacy and support programs of DepEd are the Gulayan sa Paaralan; Healthy School Environment; school-based immunization program; Helminth Control; and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, among others.
Vital role of health professionals
Briones further underscored the significant role of DepEd health personnel in bringing to the ground the various school health programs of the department.
“We want our learners to grow and be educated up to their full potential, and this can be achieved through the active contribution of all of you [DepEd health workers] in keeping our learners healthy, as well as our teaching and other nonteaching personnel, thus increasing the level of school participation, attendance, and access to education of Filipino learners.” Briones stated.
The conference was spearheaded by the DepEd-Bureau of Learner Support Services, through its School Health Division.