By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
To further educate learners on the importance of overall wellness, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday kicked off the observance of the “One Health Week” under its “Oplan Kalusugan (OK) sa DepEd” program.
All public elementary and secondary schools nationwide were enjoined to roll out a set of health activities that features the six major school health programs of the department starting July 22 to 26.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in DepEd Memorandum No. 83 series of 2019, said that the observation of the nationwide “One Health Week” is pursuant to DepEd Order No. 28 s. of 2018 or the policy guidelines on the “OK sa DepEd” program.
The “One Health Week” is conducted in schools wherein a set of health activities featuring the six major DepEd school health programs are expected to be undertaken. Briones said that activities should be aligned with DepEd’s programs that include the School-
Based Feeding Program (SBFP); the National Drug Education Program (NDEP); the Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) Program; the Water and Sanitation, and Hygiene Facilities (WASH) in Schools (WinS) Program; the Medical, Nursing, and Dental Services; and the School Mental Health Program.
The “OK sa DepEd” is considered the flagship health program of the department which was introduced in 2017.
Briones said that the “OK sa DepEd” program is a “converging effort where health plans, policies, programs, and activities are implemented to ensure that all school children are provided with basic primary health and dental care to allow them to attain their full educational potential.”
Aside from this, Briones noted that the “OK sa DepEd” will also ensure that all DepEd school health personnel and school children “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.”
In 2018, the “One Health Week” was also introduced as the highlight of the formally launched “OK sa DepEd” Program.
During the “One Health Week,” Briones directed all regional offices (ROS), school division offices (SDOs), and elementary and secondary schools to undertake activities such as orientation of parents, communities, partners, and other stakeholders; delivery of age-appropriate health services; and launching of age-appropriate health and hygiene practices.
Other related activities that may be conducted by schools include the conduct of feeding activities and school gardening activities; exhibits/fora on the NDEP, ARH, school mental health, and comprehensive tobacco control, and open house of canteens featuring healthy food and beverage choices.
Briones noted that the “One Health Week” should be maximized to “mobilize the community and promote collaboration with partners and stakeholders, especially at the school level.”
As such, she explained that “schools are tasked to network with partners within their localities for various health endeavors” such as the improvement and maintenance of health facilities; provision of health and nutrition services including manpower, medicines, and equipment; and finalization of deliverables and schedule of joint health activities for the school year.
Schools were also directed to coordinate with their division health personnel for the conduct of activities for “One Health Week” while regional directors and SDS were also enjoined to support and monitor the activities.
“We want to promote and provide all learners and DepEd personnel with a sustainable, holistic school health and nutrition program towards healthier behaviors and better learning outcomes,” Briones said.
“As such, OK sa DepEd is instrumental to the delivery of quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education,” she ended.