By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
To better raise dental health consciousness among the school populace, the Department of Education (DepEd) will celebrate the 14th Dental National Health Month through holding a series of activities for the whole month of February.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in DepEd Memorandum No. 31 series of 2018, urged both public and private elementary and secondary schools to participate in this year’s observation of the National Dental Health Month.
With theme, “Ngipin Inaruga Mula Pagkabata, Malusog na Ngiti Baon sa Pagtanda,” the celebration is in consonance with Presidential Proclamation No. 559 dated February 24, 2004. Briones noted that all school health and nutrition personnel, especially the school dentists, are expected to take the lead in the conduct of the activities.
Aside from raising dental health consciousness in schools, the celebration also aims to “encourage participation of local government units (LGUs), partners and stakeholders in the provision of oral health services in schools,” and “strengthen oral health service delivery.”
DepEd has suggested activities for each week. The activities focus on School Children Oral Health Awareness such as reinforcing the after recess toothbrushing drill and involving learners in slogan contest and photo competition; Oral Health Education such as oral health campaign through classroom health talks, symposia, film showing – among other related activities and promoting oral health care among learners and DepEd staff through interactive activities; Delivery of Dental Services which includes providing dental services through partnership with LGUs, stakeholders, and partners; and establishing and strengthening linkages for promotion of oral health.
“DepEd school dentists are advised to coordinate with the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) local chapters on the activities scheduled during the month-long celebration,” Briones said. She added that dentists and school health personnel in the regions and schools divisions are also expected to take the lead in their respective areas of responsibility.