Maria Rosario Garcia
January 18, 2016
February is National Oral Health Month in the Philippines. Since oral disease is a serious public health problem among Filipino children, this occasion is very important in reaching the majority of public school students who suffer from tooth decay and infections. To keep our Oral Health Month celebrations engaging, Save the Children in the Philippines enlists help from Child Health Promoters. These trained children can share information with fellow children about these significant health issues and help to make a big difference in achieving our goal of zero cavities and good habits for a healthy smile among all children.
An excited grade 6 student in Caloocan City has been confidently doing just this. His name is Neil Patrick and as a Child Health Promoter, he leads other children to good practices and shares his knowledge about being healthy by speaking for the younger children.
Neil Patrick and other Child Health Promoters like him have been receiving trainings from our School Health and Nutrition program about how to pass on information and lessons to other students. With Save the Children’s support they are also provided with materials like books and hygiene kits that they can use during their sessions.
“Last year, as the school year began, I became a Child Health Promoter in our school when I was encouraged by my classmate,” says Neil Patrick after we asked how he got his assignment. He continues, “I feel like I am fulfilling my dream of becoming a teacher by coaching young ones on the proper way of brushing their teeth and how to maintain a healthy smile. Not everyone has the understanding of how to take care of their teeth, that is why children in our school are very fortunate to be in front of me and to learn these skills now.”
Neil Patrick enjoys being a storyteller and speaking in front of the many children in his school. He reads a book titled Ay! May Bukbok Ang Ngipin ni Ani! or Ani has a Bad Tooth! to them during the Oral Health Month celebration.
He tells us as the next batch of children wait for him to begin and to listen to his story, “It is fun talking to kids because they are like my brothers and sisters. I am happy and I feel inspired whenever I help them.” With great role models like Neil Patrick, Save the Children in the Philippines is building a brighter future.
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