To provide access to health services among students and its personnel who need preventive and curative services, the Department of Education (DepEd) ordered the provision of immediate dental and medical emergency care in schools by establishing fully functional clinics.
“We find it necessary to still provide these services to learners and personnel to address the high prevalence of dental caries and other health problems during the time of the pandemic,” Secretary Leonor Briones said.
In an effort to ensure the maintenance of good oral health among students and personnel, the department issued DepEd Order No. 041 or the Guidelines on the Implementation of School Dental Health Care Program (SDHCP) – including Medical and Nursing Services for School Year 2020-2021.
Citing recent reports on “Oplan Kalusugan sa DepEd” for SY 2018-2019, DepEd noted that the “most common ailment in oral health” among students and personnel were dental caries and gingivitis.
To help address these problems, DepEd said that the SDHCP will provide students in public schools and personnel the following: health care supplies, which include toothpaste, toothbrush, and soap to all Kinder to Grade 6 learners; application of fluoride varnish to all Kinder to Grade 3, prioritizing all Kinder entrants, if applicable; provision of Tele-consultation, oral examination, simple dental treatment, and referrals to learners and personnel; and establishment of clinics and provision of medical and dental supplies in identified offices and Central Elementary Schools.
“All activities in the policy that require the physical presence of learners in school premises are subject to the conditions of partial or full-scale face-to-face classes, should it be approved by the Office of the President,” DepEd said.
Meanwhile, DepEd noted that the sites for the establishment of the beneficiary clinics shall be an identified classroom in the listed Central Elementary Schools provided by the Planning Division and validated by the Education Facilities Division based on the provided criteria.
Furthermore, DepEd said that the beneficiary school clinics will be given dental equipment with dental and medical supplies and a referral delivery network with the Rural Health Units (RHU). “The clinic will be manned by either health personnel, volunteer partner, or designated school clinic teacher,” DepEd added.
DepEd said that the implementation of the School Dental Health Care Program for School Year 2020-2021 is aligned to the Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.