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DOH to push through with its ‘health literacy’ agenda

By Keren Anne Bernadas

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Health (DOH) in the Philippines has been actively promoting health literacy as part of its efforts to improve the well-being of Filipinos. Their goal is to enhance health literacy and establish healthy communities with comprehensive well-being, including encouraging healthy behaviors and practices.

DOH’s Center for Health Development has lined up several community mobilization activities to improve health literacy in Bicol.

DOH-CHD health promotion officer Joseph Steven Fenol said one of the department’s approaches to building healthy communities and achieving health development goals is through people's participation.

“Kalusugan nila ang gusto nating i-improve. Kapag mas madami ang sumasali sa health literacy interventions, mas mahihimok natin ang buong komunidad na gumawa ng action upang mapromote ang kanilang kalusugan,” Fenol said.

(Their health is what we want to improve. The more people participate in health literacy interventions, the more we can encourage the entire community to take action to improve their health.)

Fenol noted that through these health actions, the public will not only join physical activities, they will also immerse themselves in community assessments and decision-making in matters of health.

“Mas nagiging sustainable din yung mga interventions kapag part sa pagpaplano and pagimplement ang mga tao dahil alam natin kung ano ang mga kailangan at gusto nila,” he said.

(Interventions also become more sustainable when people are part of the planning and implementation because we know what they need and want.)

In the stakeholders' meeting on March 8, DOH health promotion officer Maxine Angela Rañeses discussed health activities aligned with the government's health promotion framework strategy and other health celebrations across the country.

GOVERNMENT offices and other health partners join forces with the DOH to improve health literacy and health governance in Bicol Region as they fulfill their common health promotion framework strategy. Photo by DOH-CHD Bicol

The activities include the “Beat the Heat: Larong Pinoy Social Media Challenge,” “Sayawit Kontra Bisyo,” “Healthy Buntis Pageant,” and a self-care vlog-making contest.

The "Beat the Heat: Larong Pinoy Social Media Challenge" is a combination of traditional games and digital creativity, taking place in Camarines Norte province this March.

The "Sayawit Kontra Bisyo" is a dance and singing competition that promotes the prevention of illegal drugs among children, teenagers, and young adults. The event will take place in Ligao City this June.

In August, they will hold a "Healthy Buntis Pageant" in various locations throughout Bicol. Additionally, in October, there will be a self-care vlog-making contest in Sorsogon.

Other activities include painting, cooking, and art competitions that will focus on mental health, environmental health, and nutrition.

The DOH-CHD is also taking the lead in training and equipping more health promotion officers to effectively communicate various health programs of the government to rural areas.

In addition to their existing training and literacy interventions among local health units, they have recently launched a health magazine show called "Be Healthy with Me". This show is being aired on their Facebook page and is intended to encourage and educate not only barangay health workers, but every sector of the community, on pressing health issues in the region and how the government is working to resolve them.

The aPhilippine Health Literacy, Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice survey in 2021 conducted a baseline assessment.

This is the first massive study of national health literacy by the DOH – Health Promotion Bureau that covers Filipinos in regional areas.

A total of 1,560 responses (98.17 percent response rate) were received from Bicol.

According to the DOH, the highest proportion of assessed Bicolano adults have problematic health literacy, with 47 percent and 39.29 percent of them having inadequate health literacy. Only 12.38 percent of the respondents have sufficient health literacy, while a mere 1.33 percent have excellent health literacy.

As a result, there is a crucial need among Bicolanos to understand and access health literacy, and this is the primary basis of this intensified health promotion, said Fenol.

Joana Angela Prianes, who serves as the public information officer of the Commission on Civil Service in the region, emphasized the importance of creating health-friendly government offices.

According to her, employees are not just workers, but human beings who deserve a workplace environment that prioritizes their well-being beyond the mere fulfillment of their job responsibilities.

Prianes added that promoting a conducive workplace environment can have a positive impact on employees' productivity and contribute to overall organizational success.

She believes that offices should acknowledge and respect the needs of their employees by promoting physical activities, healthy habits, mental relaxation, and other health-perspective activities, she said. (PIA5)


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