Issue of March 4, 2018
Mt. Province

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DOH hosts free caravan to promote dental health in MP
by Rose D. Dagupen

The Department of Health is spearheading an ongoing dental mission in schools and in the communities.

From Feb. 6 to 27, the dental caravan has already covered four areas. The first to fourth leg reached selected schools in Bontoc, Natonin, Bauko, and Sabangan. Schedules for Tadian and Besao have been set on March 6 and 13.

Information and education materials were also distributed to the recipient schools and rural health units.

Dr. Natividad T. Oprecio, development management officer IV of DOH, said tooth decay is prevalent in the province as shown in the assessment of recipient schools and based on past records of DOH.

She pointed out that it is on the top five problems among the children. Toothache is the primary reason of absenteeism in schools. Its causes are attributed to poor hygiene and poor diet which, she said, should be a health concern.

Oprecio advised that children should be consistently reminded to brush their teeth regularly and advise them to minimize eating sugary foods.

Oprecio lamented dental health is not given much attention. “It is often overlooked in the health programs,” she stressed, adding that services for such is insufficient.

Lack of awareness on the importance of dental health, lack of support to the programs and lack of dentists in the province are among the surfacing reasons that are contributory factors.

Of the 11 towns here, Paracelis is the only town that has dentists.

Aiming to continue the campaign, the DOH allows the municipalities and other concerned entities to borrow the two dental health buses that was provided by its head office as a shared facility.

Meanwhile, in line with the theme, “Ngipin ay alagaan sa sinapupunan para sa magandang ngiti hanggang katandaan,” dentists are advising mothers to prioritize a balanced diet especially when they are pregnant.

Also, in its aim to be of help to the health sector and to schools, the sangguniang panlalawigan approved Provincial Ordinance 279 or the “Preventive dental health intervention of Mountain Province,” which seeks to provide measures to enhance the dental condition of the children.

As counterpart of the provincial government, it supported the Department of Education’s “Essential Health Care Package program. Tooth brushing, which is one component of the program was implemented and supported by the provincial government and other stakeholders since its launching in 2008 up to 2011.

With the program, cases of dental carries declined from 2009 up to 2013. However, the occurrence of dental carries rose again in the recent years due to the insufficiency of funds.

With the revitalization of the program, the provincial government, in collaboration with the DOH, the municipal governments, non-government organizations, barangays, Parents and Teachers Association and DepEd is hopeful that the program will be continued.

Through the ordinance, 700,000 will be allotted to support the EHCP program for the province.

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