February was National Oral Health Month in the Philippines.
Oral disease is a serious health issue amongst Filipino children so in February, we wanted to reach most of the school students who suffer from tooth decay and infections. Inspiring children to share with their school friends what they know about dental care makes a difference in achieving zero cavities and good habits for a healthy smile.
We found one excited grade 6 student in Caloocan City doing just this and talking confidently in front of younger classes in his school. His name is Neil Patrick and as a Child Health Promoter, he leads and encourages other children to adopt healthy hygiene practices and shares his knowledge on being healthy.
Neil Patrick, and other Child Health Promoters like him, receive training on School Health and Nutrition issues which they pass on to other students. With Save the Children's support, they are also provided with materials like books and hygiene kits which they can use during their health awareness sessions.
"Last year when school started, I became a Child Health Promoter in our school after I was encouraged by a classmate" says Neil Patrick when asked about how he got this assignment. He continues, saying "I feel like I am fulfilling my dream of becoming a teacher by coaching young ones on the proper way to brush their teeth and how to maintain a healthy smile. Not everyone understands how to take care of their teeth so that is why children in our school are in front of me – to learn these habits now."
Neil Patrick, who dreams of having a sibling and becoming a teacher, says, "It's fun talking to the kids because they are like my brothers and sisters. I am happy and I feel inspired whenever I help them." He says this smiling as the next batch of children get ready for him to tell a story.
Neil Patrick enjoys being a storyteller for many children in his school. Here he reads a book titled "Ay! May bukbok ang ngipin ni Ani! (Ani has a bad tooth)" during the Oral Health Month celebrations.