The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Health (DOH) vowed to strengthen school health and nutrition programs in the basic education sector by launching “Pinalakas na Oplan Kalasuguan sa DepEd, Pinatatag na Health Learning Institution” in Quirino High School in Quezon City.
The ceremony gathered Executive Committee leaders of both DepEd and DOH, local government representatives of the host city, and selected school health and nutrition personnel nationwide to highlight the importance of a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to strengthen school health programs.
Institutionalized in 2018, Oplan Kalusugan sa DepEd or OK sa
DepEd is the convergence of DepEd’s health and nutrition initiatives for effective and efficient implementation at the school level in partnership with various stakeholders.
“I look forward to receiving the results of your consultative workshop summarizing the issues, concerns, and recommendations from regional school health and nutrition personnel, including the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte said.
Early this year, DepEd established a partnership with the DOH, and other national government agencies through Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 2022-0001 or Guidelines on Healthy Settings Framework in Learning Institutions. It is to strengthen school health under the basic education sector as Healthy Learning Institutions (HLI) or Health Iskwela, via the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Legal Education Board (LEB), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
According to Section 30 of Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act, JAO operationalizes the designation of schools as healthy settings based on standards set by the DOH and DepEd.
The DOH manifested its gratitude for the efforts of DepEd in prioritizing students’ health and well-being. The Department also expressed its commitment to support the DepEd in this endeavor.
“Through a whole of government and whole of society approach, the DOH commits to helping DepEd in ensuring students’ health and well-being through improving access to health care, creating and writing healthy school policies; creating conducive physical and social environments; strengthening links with the community on health, and reinforcing health skills and education. We are confident that this innovative strategy of deep cooperation between the sectors of health and education at the national, regional, and local levels will be fruitful in maximizing the positive impact of education on Filipino students,” said DOH OIC-Undersecretary Dr. Beverly Lorraine C. Ho
The Health Iskwela framework is being pilot-tested in 273 last-mile elementary schools in eight provinces and one city. The OK sa DepEd will adopt the program framework.
“The HLI Framework, based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) six pillars of health-promoting school, serves as an effective guide as to how we can strengthen the implementation of our existing health and nutrition programs under OK sa DepEd,” Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo said.