Wednesday, October 19, 2016
CALOOCAN CITY, October 18, 2016 – To promote proper hygiene and sanitation practices among learners, the Department of Education (DepEd), together with its partners, discussed how proper handwashing with soap combats many common diseases and health-related problems to students, teachers, and administrators of Kalayaan Elementary School in North Caloocan City on October 14, 2016.
In line with the theme “Make Handwashing a Habit!”, the event aimed to emphasize the importance of handwashing with soap as a habitual behavior for long-term sustainability. It also aims to create a global buzz to encourage increased investment in handwashing efforts worldwide.
DepEd officials and representatives present at the event were Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua, Bureau of Learner Support Services Director IV Rizalino Jose Rosales and Director III Dr. Ella Cecilia Naliponguit, NCR Regional Director Dr. Ponciano Menguito, and Division of Caloocan Superintendent Dr. Rita Riddle.
In his speech, Usec. Pascua considered this celebration as a clarion call to the nation’s policymakers and leaders in ensuring community access to complete hygiene facilities, and in institutionalizing the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program.
“Starting school year 2017, the DepEd will ensure the construction of individual and group handwashing facilities in all school buildings to be built,” Pascua stated.
Pascua also mentioned the inclusion of the handwashing practice—together with daily tooth brushing with fluoride, and bi-annual deworming—in the Comprehensive Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools (WinS) program of the Department. This seeks to ensure that handwashing with soap is understood not only as a crucial step to be done before eating, but also a pre-requisite when handling and preparing food.
By practicing habitual handwashing with soap, learners can prevent having life-threatening diseases. “We are making a major stride toward reducing the incidence of child mortality in the country,” Pascua said.
Also in attendance were representatives from organizations, agencies, and local government unit, including Department of Health National Capital Region (DOH-NCR) Assistant Regional Director Dr. Corazon Flores, German Development Cooperation (GIZ) Regional Fit for School Advisor Nicole Siegmund, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) WASH in Schools Officer Jon Michael Villaseñor, Save the Children Health and Nutrition Advisor Dr. Amado Parawan, Maynilad Water Services Head of Advocacy Rosmon Tuazon, and Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan.
Siegmund shared that efforts at making handwashing a habit should include knowledge building on the benefits of the habit, teaching the learners about the proper handwashing procedure, and integrating handwashing with soap at key times into the daily rituals of schoolchildren.
Furthermore, to achieve the objectives of this initiative, UNICEF’s Villaseñor said, “Kailangan pa po nating pag-ibayuhin ang ating pagsisiguro na tayo ay mayroong malinis na palikuran, malinis na tubig, at tayo ay sanay na sa paghuhugas ng kamay araw-araw.”
Villaseñor conveyed his hopes that through collaborative efforts, soon, our country will have complete hygiene facilities in schools and in communities.
At the end of the program, DepEd officials and partners joined the students in demonstrating proper handwashing with soap. Moreover, handwashing kits were distributed to students.
This effort is pursuant to the DepEd Memorandum No. 172, s. 2016 or the 2016 Global Handwashing Day Celebration which is available online at http://www.deped.gov.ph/memos/dm-172-s-2016.