The LLK way of promoting health habits in schools
By Nogel Viyar
“I have taught my children the importance of taking a bath everyday, brushing their teeth and hand washing. They have made these part of their daily habit," said Marites.
Together with other sixty PTCA members from selected schools in Camarines Norte, Marites attended the Linis-Lusog Kids (LLK) training on health promotion and sustainability campaign.
In 2008, the Department of Education (DepEd), GMA Kapuso Foundation and UNICEF embarked on the Linis-Lusog Kids, a joint programme that teaches more than 6,000 children in 21 schools about life-saving health habits that will keep them safe from diseases such as diarrhea and dental caries. Aside from the training, the school children will be given hygiene kits with soaps, toothbrushes and polypaste fluoride. Of the 21 schools, 10 most needy schools will be provided with funds to set-up water and sanitation facilities.
As part of the LLK project, PTCA participants are trained on DepEd health and hygiene education policies and programmes, guidelines for the implementation of the LLK programme. They were also taught how to conduct their advocacy and resource generation campaign to ensure that the program will continue and more students will benefit. They were also provided instructional materials such as posters, flipcharts and VCDs in the local language
“With this activity, we now know about proper and alternative health care practices. I agree that prevention is much better than cure. I will volunteer to help share what we have learned in this training, and will promote the activity in our barangay assembly," Marites added.
Marites’ contribution to solving two of the leading causes of child sickness comes with great significance. Diarrhea is the 4th leading cause of deaths of children under five years, and the third leading cause of child illness in the Philippines. It causes 10,000 deaths per year. Along with diarrhea, dental carries is one of the top common ailments that causes children’s absences in school.
“We are also facing limited manpower and financial resources in addressing these problems. Health promotion is not enough. We need to have a supportive environment and skills enhancement among our stakeholders to encourage children to wash their hands and brush their teeth regularly,” explained DepEd Health and Nutrition Center Officer, Dr. Richell Corilla.
The LLK Way
For other participants, the training helps reactivate health activities in the classrooms and strengthen the health teaching programs of pubic schools. “This program can also strengthen and activate the health corners in our classrooms here in Camarines Norte,” said DepEd Public Schools District Supervisor Angelina Relucio.
What was learned during the training will be passed on to other staff, parents and community members. This will also be integrated in the health and science subjects of the schools. “We are hopeful that this project will be sustained and will also be extended in the remaining schools that are not part of the pilot phase, especially those that are located in the islands,” Angelina added.
Seven elementary schools in Camarines Norte will benefit from the project (Pag-asa, M. Guinto, Sto. Domingo, Guinacutan, MJ Balon, Sta. Milagrosa and Larap). The Linis Lusog Kids trainings will also be conducted in Sarangani, Antique and Negros Oriental. In addition to the training, the LLK programme will also provide water and sanitation facilities such as toilets in selected schools.