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DepEd-ARMM spearheads 6th global handwashing day in the region

Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur
October 25, 2017

Secretary Magno and RSP Rocaya S. Otical in a photo file.

The Muslim autonomous government's education department vowed to provide a healthy school environment to the students in the region as it is in the process of producing group washing facilities to ensure that each school has the infrastructure they need to allow children to practice daily hand washing.

Addressing the 6th global handwashing celebration conducted by the schools divisions of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur 1, Dr.John A. Magno, secretary of the Department of Education of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DepEd-ARMM), said, "The leadership of DepEd ARMM recognizes the importance of proper hygiene to the holistic growth and development of all school children .As such; we are committed to provide a healthy school environment to our learners."

Magno's message was read during the celebration by Sittie Pieron Abutazil-Du, DepEd-ARMM Chief of Health and Nutrition Unit.

Magno said this is the 6th consecutive year that DepEd-ARMM spearheads the event.

He said: "This year's theme -- “OUR HANDS, OUR FUTURE” -- is a way to celebrate the benefits of washing our hands! Hand washing with soap can help fight undernutrition, keep our school children healthy, and save lives. 

"To achieve these benefits," Magno emphasized, "we must practice hand washing at key times -- such as before eating and after using the toilet."

Part of Magno's speech read as follows:

"The Department of education ARMM, in its goal to ensure quality and inclusive education -- especially in the context of Marawi crisis -- has been providing ways to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools and even in the temporary learning spaces. Group washing facilities and hygiene kits have been installed and distributed to provide opportunities to practice hand hygiene. A new version of the group washing facility will also be used today. This is a design made by GIZ and intended primarily to address hygiene needs during humanitarian response.

"To be able to make hand washing a habit, schools must have the needed infrastructure and resources to support daily group hygiene. As we speak, DepEd ARMM Regional office is in the process of producing group washing facilities to ensure that each school has the infrastructure they need to allow children to practice daily hand washing.

"As we begin the reconstruction of Marawi and the re-opening of our schools in Marawi City, DepEd ARMM will ensure that WASH standards are maintained in these schools. Particularly during the period of recovery, hygiene is of the utmost importance. All schools in Marawi will have their group washing facilities updated and will receive additional facilities, along with EHCP kits to ensure that every child can practice daily group hand washing and daily group tooth brushing.

"In addition to this, each school must also do their part to ensure that group hand washing is being conducted in every classroom every single day. Without a regular routine, hand washing will never become a habit.

"Through the DEpED ARMM’s three star Approach WinS monitoring, school heads are taking the lead to ensure that all classrooms practice healthy habits.

"As leaders, community members, and parents, we have a responsibility to ensure that our children can go to school in a healthy place. This starts by leading by example and ensuring that we demonstrate to our children the importance of regular hygiene activities. The school community here in Saguiaran Central Elementary School exemplifies this spirit."
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