By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) assured that it continues to carry out initiatives that focus on data gathering and monitoring of affected learners following the national dengue alert declared by the Department of Health (DOH).
“Meron tayong school health program kung saan ine-encourage natin ang mga bata and parents to participate in the school-based health programs,” said Education Secretary Leonor Briones when asked about the dengue-related initiatives of DepEd.
Meanwhile, Briones noted that the Parents-Teacher Associations (PTA) should take a “more active role” when it comes to school-based programs and other health initiatives. “Dapat ang PTA maging mas active diyan kasi mas nakakatakot kung walang vaccination ang mga bata,” she said.
Briones noted that the DepEd and DOH were working together – particularly in the policy level. She added the heads of DepEd and DOH were in constant communication when it came to issues that affect the learners’ health.
Furthermore, DepEd also encouraged parents to participate in forums on the vaccine program and information drive against dengue in the community which are conducted by schools and trained health coordinators.
School administrators were likewise enjoined to strictly adhere to the 4S Strategy and the provisions of DM 152, s. 2011 or “Preventing Dengue in Schools” to “ensure the regular conduct of vector control measures to eliminate mosquitoes in the school environment.”
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in a television interview, said the DOH and DepEd should carefully study the possibility of suspending classes in areas that are affected by dengue so as not to disrupt the education of learners.
Duque noted that it was difficult to pinpoint “where the risk is” citing that it can be in the school or in the house of the learners. Latest data from DOH showed that there are “106,630 dengue cases have been reported nationwide” from January to June 29, 2019 which is “an 85 percent increase from the 57,564 cases reported over the same period” in 2018.
In February this year — when DOH declared a measles outbreak in Metro Manila and other regions – DepEd made commitments with the health agency to help ensure that the learners were protected.