The School Health and Nutrition Program is an integral part of the DepEd System where health personnel are on the frontline in the implementation of the programs in the school, district and division levels.
With the official launching of the Essential Health Care Program ( EHCP) on August 29,2012 in the Division of Tawi-Tawi, the role of the nurses became more pronounced and recognized being one of the key persons in its implementation. This has kept the Health and Nutrition Section (HNS) on the move often than before as the program needs regular monitoring and evaluation, lobbying with the local government units, validation of the expansion schools for Year 2, orientations, and following up of other concerns. This gave the section the opportunity to visit districts and schools regularly and poster a stronger working relationship with school heads, teachers, colleagues and even the parents, LGUs and community.
EHCP as a flagship progam of DepEd serves as an energiser and a catalyst for HNS to strive more to help nurses in the field accomplish their tasks and eradicate the notion that nurses are merely sitting pretty in their clinics. This is also a venue for improving communication skills both written and verbal, as there is a need to constantly be connected with stakeholders. The skill is enhanced in trying to persuade partners to appreciate and eventually support the program with the aim to help school children become healthier and thereby improve their school performance and make a difference in the lives of the school children through simple and yet cost- effective means of daily activities of toothbrushing and handwashing and bi- annual deworming.
DepEd, with or without Fit for School or partner agencies and foreign funders are mandated to construct handwashing facility and implement EHCP in schools with legal bases: DepEd Order 56, s.2009 and DepEd Order 65, s 2009.