The first seven years of a child’s life are the most crucial to his/her long-term development. We need to make sure our children have sound bodies and minds. The earlier we intervene them the grater impact we can make to ensure they become life-long learners.

That is why there are programs   like the Pre- School sa Bawat Barangay, the Supplemental Feeding Program and the Universal Medical and Dental Check-Ups. These are collaborative undertakings of the different government agencies (DepEd, DSWD, DOH) , the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), public and private health care providers and local governments across the country.

Survey studies and actual data show that most primary school children drop out from school due to undernourishment, which hinders the child from participating in the classroom. Pre-elementary and first-grade students are the most nutritionally at –risk because they are still developing physically, mentally and emotionally. Children who drop-out from school early are more likely to suffer from lour levers of literacy later on.

Past efforts to administer health examinations in public schools have been largely inadequate because of the lack of DepEd health personnel. To address this deficiency, DepEd is working with the Department of Health, the Department of Interior and Local Government and various health specialty groups and associations to mobilize communities, health service providers and medical practitioners to volunteer their services for the Universal Medical and Dental Check- up Program (UMDC). The support and coordination of the private medical groups are crucial in these undertakings. Donations or sponsorships of supplies as well as their participation are called upon administer health check-ups in schools.

By: Judith E. Tanael

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