Saturday, February 13, 2016

Unilab Foundation and Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology launch exhibit to address health literacy

Unilab Foundation, Inc. (ULF) has partnered with the Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology (PFST) to address the country’s health literacy gap through Health Science On the Go (HSOTG)–Traveling Science Centrum.

The intervention is a unique educational platform that stimulates curiosity through hands-on learning among students. It aims to be a meaningful and fun way to educate them on the health sciences, and develop a generation that is more equipped to live healthier lifestyles.

Interactive exhibits for health literacy

The US Centers for Disease Control defines health literacy as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” 

In 2014, the Philippine College of Physicians reported a low health literacy rate among Filipinos. This gap is reflected in the Philippines’ top leading causes of morbidity and mortality, which feature mostly preventable infectious diseases such as respiratory infections, diarrhea and tuberculosis – diseases virtually eradicated in most developed countries.

In line with Unilab Foundation’s mission to build a healthier Philippines, HSOTG aims to promote and demonstrate how personal choices affect health. Its thirty-one (31) engaging and interactive exhibits are grouped into five (5) main clusters: physical fitness, nutrition, hygiene, public health and medicines. It will also feature popular interactive exhibits for general science.

The exhibits complement the K-12 competencies in Health and Science, in support of Department of Education’s Reformed Basic Education Curriculum.

Unilab Foundation Executive Director Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi emphasizes the importance of this endeavor. “When we invest in the students’ learning through Health Science On the Go, we invest in the future of our country. We need to continue investing in knowledge and experience of the students because that would determine how far they will go in the future.”

Exhibit launch and highlights

In cooperation with the DOST Region IV-A and DepEd Rizal, HSOTG–Traveling Science Centrum launched its second run on January 25, 2016, at San Jose National High School, where it was open to visitors until February 12. From there, the exhibit will be housed at the Tomas Claudio Memorial Elementary School from February 15 to March 4, 2016.

The exhibit will cater to elementary and high school students from over thirty (30) districts in Rizal. Highlights of the exhibition include: Kelly, the Skeleton (skeletal movement); Dance to be Healthy (cardiovascular health); Platong Makulay for Healthy Eating (balanced diet and the food pyramid); Brush Your Teeth the Right Way (oral health care); What happens when you sleep? (stages and effects of sleep); Bacteria 101 (exponential growth of bacteria); How vaccines work in the body (immunization); Van de Graaff generator (hair-raising activity); What Are OTC Medicines? (over-the-counter medicine for common symptoms); and more.

A healthier Philippines, one student at a time

In September 2015, the HSOTG–Traveling Science Centrum was visited by over 6,000 students during its first run in Davao.

From January 25 to March 4, 2016, the exhibit aims to attract over 10,000 students and teachers from both public and private schools in the province. This “science beyond the classroom” approach encourages visitors to better understand and appreciate the value of health.

Palomar-Fresnedi shares, “Every person who was the aspiration to become healthy contributes to a healthier Philippines. Even if we do not have grand dreams or capabilities to make a different in whatever profession we have, we could still make a difference in the way we live. And the time starts now. That experience starts now.”

As Unilab Foundation and PFST join forces for this noble initiative, it is envisioned that every visitor be equipped with the right information, get involved in its dissemination, and become an active advocate in the creation of a healthy environment for future generations – contributing to a healthier and more health literate Philippines, one student at a time.

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