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Diarrhea among top causes of absence in school

© GMAKF/2009/Santos
UNICEF Representative Vanessa Tobin, GMA Kapuso Foundation Executive Vice President Mel Tiangco, GMA Kapuso stars and talents at the Linis Lusog Kids launch.

Lack of clean water and poor hygiene habits contribute significantly to child ailments that cause Filipino children to miss school. A partnership by two organizations helping children hopes to change this through a program that provides clean water and teaches simple healthy habits. 

In the country, diarrhea is the 3rd leading cause of child illness and the 4th leading cause of deaths among children less than 5 years. It is estimated to cause 12% or almost 10,000 deaths a year. A 2004 UNICEF assisted study on the prevalence of soil transmitted helminthes, estimates that almost 70 % of pre schoolchildren are host to at least one type of intestinal helminth infection and that  7 out of 10 children (aged 3-12) suffer from intestinal worms. 

Leading media-based NGO GMA Kapuso Foundation and UN children’s agency UNICEF embark on a partnership to teach Filipino children about life-saving health practices such as handwashing and toothbrushing, and some alternatives to soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.

Dubbed “Linis Lusog Kids,” the project aims to teach 6,000 children in 10 schools about health habits that will help keep them safe from diseases such as diarrhea and dental caries. It will also give much-needed clean water and sanitation facilities such as toilets.

Through hygiene kits containing soaps, toothbrushes and toothpaste, children from these schools can begin learning about being healthy at an early age. A series of instructional videos by GMA starring GMA Kapuso stars Ella and BJ will also be shown to the children to better educate them about washing their hands with soap and brushing their teeth.

“Children have a right to basic facilities such as school toilets, clean water, clean surroundings and information on good hygiene habits. If these conditions are created, children learn better and can bring concepts and practices on sanitation and hygiene back to their families and ultimately to the communities. Through this partnership with GMA Kapuso Foundation, we hope to give children a good start to a happy and healthy life,” Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF Representative said.

“This is a very significant moment for us. It has long been the desire of the Foundation to help address the basic health problems that affect millions of poor Filipino children. In the course of all our visits to so many poor and far-flung areas in the country, we have witnessed the tremendous needs that so many children in those areas have that pertain to health. This partnership with UNICEF is a dream come true!” Mel Tiangco, Executive Vice President of the GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc. said.

Linis Lusog Kids project sites include elementary schools in Sarangani, Antique, Negros Oriental and Camarines Norte.


For more information, contact:

GMA Kapuso Foundation

Marivic Calixto, Tel ++632 982.7777 loc 9904, +632 917.8325205,


Angela Travis, UNICEF Philippines, Tel: ++632 901-0177, ++632 917.867.8366,
Marge Francia, UNICEF Philippines, Tel: ++632 9010173, ++632 917.858.9447,



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