“Brush your teeth now!” – Healthy children can learn better in school. The “Fit For School” programme in the Philippines, supported and implemented by Inwent and its partners, was singled out by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) as “Winning Global Health Solution” developed for and by countries of the South. They and several other health initiatives originated by and for developing countries were showcased at the South-South Development Solutions Forum on Global Health, organized by PAHO and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as part of the Global South-South Development Expo 2009, taking place at World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. The award was given as part of the conference in a ceremony on 17 December 2009.
Being one of only three projects selected worldwide, Fit for School has been chosen due to its innovative concept, combining high impact and evidence-based interventions in a simple and cost effective package to improve health and development of primary school children.
Fit for School is a programme developed by the Department of Education and the League of Provinces of the Philippines to respond to high rates of preventable diseases among Filipino school children. It combines daily supervised hand washing with soap, tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and semi-annual deworming on a mass scale to reduce respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, parasites, and tooth decay in children.
In just two years, the program has shown such success that the Department of Education has designated it a “national flagship program” and plans to expand it to reach 50 percent of Filipino children by 2012. The initiative is supported by the German Development Agencies CIM, Inwent and GTZ.
“The eyes of the international public health and education community will be on our work in the Philippines. Winning this award is an honor and great recognition for all involved in the program”, said Filipino Education Secretary Jeslie Lapus.
The Fit for School program currently reaches one million children in elementary schools throughout the Philippines and it is planned to scale-up the reach to cover at least half of the nations school children within the next two years.
“Sustainable improvement of health of school children worldwide is possible and Fit For School in the Philippines has shown what combined effort, realistic interventions and strong commitment can achieve”, Dr. Bella Monse, Fit for School CEO, added.
About Fit For School
Fit For School Inc. is a Philippine NGO committed to support the Health and education sector in reaching child-related Millennium Development Goals. The NGO promotes a simple cost-effective Essential Health Care Package addressing high-impact childhood diseases. The package consists of daily handwashing with soap, toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste and bi-annual deworming of children visiting schools and day care centers. The program is a national flagship program of the Department of Education, supported by international development partners such as GTZ, CIM, Inwent as well as corporate partners.
About the Global South-South Development Expo 2009
The Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) is designed as a concrete response to the strong commitment made by the UN Secretary-General and the UNDP Administrator to help the global South realize its shared aspirations for achieving sustainable and equitable development through the sharing and transfer of Southern-grown Development Solutions (SDSs). The GSSD Expo has served as a vibrant platform for the international community to celebrate achievements; share development successes; explore new avenues for collaboration; forge innovative South-South, triangular and public-private partnerships; and launch concrete collaborative schemes towards achieving internationally agreed development goals (IADGs), including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).