January 5, 2021 – To ensure the maintenance of good oral health among learners and personnel, the Department of Education (DepEd) released DepEd Order No. 041 or the Guidelines on the Implementation of School Dental Health Care Program (SDHCP), including Medical and Nursing Services for School Year 2020-2021.

The program aims to provide access to health services among learners and DepEd personnel who need preventive and curative services, including immediate dental and medical emergency care in schools by establishing fully functional clinics.

“We find it necessary to still provide these services to learners and personnel to address the high prevalence of dental caries and other health problems during the time of the pandemic,” Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

The recent reports on Oplan Kalusugan sa DepEd for SY 2018-2019 showed that the most common ailment in oral health were dental caries and gingivitis.

The SDHCP will provide learners in public schools and DepEd personnel the following:

  1. a) Distribution of health care supplies, which include toothpaste, toothbrush, and soap to all Kinder to Grade 6 learners;
  2. b) Application of fluoride varnish to all Kinder to Grade 3, prioritizing all Kinder entrants, if applicable;
  3. c) Provision of Tele-consultation, oral examination, simple dental treatment, and referrals to learners and personnel; and
  4. d) Establishment of clinics and provision of medical and dental supplies in identified offices and Central Elementary Schools.

All activities in the policy that require the physical presence of learners in school premises are subject to the conditions of partial or full-scale face-to-face classes, should it be approved by the Office of the President.

The sites for the establishment of the beneficiary clinics shall be an identified classroom in the listed Central Elementary Schools provided by the Planning Division and validated by the Education Facilities Division based on the provided criteria.

Furthermore, the beneficiary school clinics will be given dental equipment with dental and medical supplies and a referral delivery network with the Rural Health Units (RHU). The clinic will be manned by either health personnel, volunteer partner, or designated school clinic teacher.

The implementation of the School Dental Health Care Program for School Year 2020-2021 is aligned to the Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full copy of the DepEd Order can be downloaded at: https://www.deped.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/DO_s2020_041.pdf.