Having implemented a health awareness campaign project for students and parents, Banaba West Integrated School significantly improved its students’ participation with a baseline rate of 91% for the deworming treatment and 81% for the Weekly Iron Folic Acid (WIFA) supplementation in July 2019.

For the last three years, Banaba West Integrated School has attained an average of 63% of student participation in the deworming program and 59% in WIFA supplementation. During the initial attempt of the school to encourage participation to the health programs last June, only 45% agreed to take part in the said programs.

To address this, MAPEH teachers led by their coordinator, Ailagen Delos Reyes, the Operations and Learner Support Head, Leila Seco, and the school principal, Lilibeth Virtus, planned for a health awareness campaign project. They started with a survey to determine the reasons for the low recorded participation of students. Even before Regional Memorandum No. 433, s.2019 or the Rapid Survey on the Barriers to Deworming and Immunization in CALABARZON was issued, BWIS students and parents had been asked why they refused to avail themselves of the free programs. The most common reasons that emerged were students’ belief that they are uninfected by worms or that they no longer need iron supplementation; parents’ disapproval for their children to be given treatment; and students’ fear of getting side-effects from taking the treatment.

An analysis of the root cause of the problem was done and it was found out that the students and their parents need to be oriented with the benefits of deworming treatment and WIFA supplementation. Immediately after, MAPEH teachers planned for a health awareness campaign program. They prepared slide decks, clipped pictures, and videos to augment the presentations. These were edited to cover all other important features such as the alarming effects of worm infection and iron-deficiency, the misconceptions on taking deworming treatment and evidences that the health programs are beneficial.

Presentations were done by MAPEH teachers in their respective classes from Grades 7 to 12. During the sessions, students who have participated in the program also voluntarily shared to their classmates its benefits. Posters were also posted in strategic places in school to reinforce student awareness.

After the campaign, the number of students who agreed to participate in the health programs increased dramatically. Principal Virtus recognized the creative effort of the learner support head and the MAPEH teachers for coming up with the project. She also awarded the classes who actively participated in the program. “This awareness campaign is one of the best practices that the school may take to encourage active participation from the students. This can also be applied to other DepEd programs,” the principal said. (Leila M. Seco, Master Teacher II, Banaba West Integrated School, SDO Batangas City)