With the majority of Filipinos adults wary of vaccination in general, various private and public organizations have banded together and turned to the youth to boost vaccine confidence and share other related health information with the public.
Various elementary and high school students in 22 public schools across the National Capital Region, Calabarzon (Region IVA) and Northern Mindanao (Region 10) frontlined the social media campaign dubbed as Youth Health Patrol. Their creativity and resourcefulness were on full display as they posted videos, pictures, memes, infographics and other materials on Facebook, garnering hundreds of positive engagements in their respective communities.
This health literacy initiative is facilitated through the Campaign on Character Education Tenacity Program (CaCHET) by the Alalay sa Pamilya at Bayan (APB) Foundation in partnership with the University of Asia & Pacific (UA&P) I AM STRONG, with the endorsement of the Department of Education, and supported by Sanofi. The organizers recognize the need to engage and empower children particularly during this crucial time. As the country continues to grapple with COVID-19, a recent Social Weather Station survey revealed that 33 percent of Filipinos are unwilling to get vaccinated while 35 percent expressed uncertainty about vaccination.
Dr. Jean-Antoine Zinsou, General Manager of Sanofi Pasteur Philippines, praised the students for their active participation and impressive output, and for overcoming the challenges of community restrictions and limitations of their own resources.
“The passion and dedication of these students to their respective community health campaigns are truly a cause for celebration,” he said. “These posts are proof that while we continue to face unprecedented challenges, there is also unprecedented potential in our children and young people.”
The Youth Health Patrol campaign recently concluded with the awarding of the Grand Prizes to Bagong Silang Elementary School CND2 and Bayabas National High School, based on criteria that includes Audience Engagement, Creativity, Message Clarity, Credibility of Sources Used, and Campaign Objectives attained. Other schools that made it to the top ten include: Congress Elementary School (2nd Prize) and Camarin D. Elementary School (3rd Prize). Meanwhile, Andres Bonifacio Elementary School and Carmona Elementary School received honorable mentions for the elementary school category. For the high school category finalists were: Kalayaan National High School (2nd Prize) and Caybiga High School (3rd Prize). Aplaya National High School – Annex and Nagpayong High school both received honorable mentions for the high school category. Special awards for Best TikTok video and Best Infographic were also given to Highway Hills Integrated School and Camp Vicente Lim Integrated School, respectively.
Dr. Beverly Ho, Director for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, Department of Health, chaired the panel of judges for the finals. In her remarks, Ho highlighted the role of young people in improving the health of Filipinos.
“Health is more than a visit to the doctor’s office or the hospital. It begins where we work, live, and play. It has been encouraging to see how our Youth Health Patrollers have become enthusiastic health advocates in their homes and among their peers. We hope you continue spreading the right health information and practicing good health habits.”