The Official Publication of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines

Promoting NBS, Rare Disorders to High School Students

Written by Ryan John Pascual
Pictures from VYLH-Philippines Volunteers

In the continued service and passion to the advocacy, VYLH-Philippines volunteers targeted high school students and teachers as the recipients of their information, education and communication (IEC) campaign activities on newborn screening (NBS) and rare disorders during the First Quarter of 2012. Among these activities were the Genetics Camp of The UPLB Genetics Society and "Schools for Rare" Campaign of VYLH-Philippines.

Schools for Rare at Luray II National High School in Toledo City, Cebu

High school students, being in their formative years, are viable partners in the advocacy since it is during the secondary level of education where students start to build their career path and pick the fields in which they will participate in the future. Imparting the advocacy allows students to be conscious of the health concerns that they will encounter as parents and leaders in the future. These students are also highly capable of disseminating information among their peers, friends and family.  Aside from students, engaging secondary school teachers to advocate our health concerns allows the integration of these health topics in their future classroom discussions.

High school students and teachers as IEC recipients is not anymore new to the network. Three years ago and prior to the organization of VYLH-Philippines, the Folic Acid Awareness Campaign, one of the core advocacies of the network, was first demonstrated in the annual Genetics Camp of The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc). Since then, the pioneer VYLH-Philippines organization has integrated the lecture in their camp program.

Last January 21-22, 2012, GeneSoc conducted their 6th Genetics Camp in partnership with VYLH-Philippines, Institute of Human Genetics, NIH-UP Manila, and the Newborn Screening Reference Center (NSRC). The event with the theme “GENEtervention: Beware. Be Aware. Screen for Rare.” focused on newborn screening and its importance, and orphan disorders in the Philippines. The camp was attended by more than a hundred students and faculty throughout Luzon. Aside from the lectures, the camp also featured contests which tested the comprehension of the participants. These included an essay writing, poster and slogan making, and quiz contest. The camp also became an avenue for the distribution of IEC materials on NBS and collection of signatures in support of a Rare Disease Act of the Philippines.

The winners of the Inter-HS Poster, and Slogan making contest held during the Genetics Camp last January 2012.

Another VYLH-Philippines endeavor directed to high school students was held in time with the Third National Rare Disease Week. Last February, the network launched the Schools for Rare Campaign along with the network’s participation to the annual Rare Disease week celebration. The network’s battle cry was “Juan for Rare: Let’s make every-Juan aware of the fight and plight of Filipinos with rare disorders” which was in line with the international theme calling for solidarity - “Rare but strong together”.

Since there are orphan disorders that are detected through screening, newborn screening was discussed along with the video presentation provided by PSOD (Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders). Aside from the brief classroom discussion, signatures in support of the urgent legislation of a Rare Disease Act were also collected during the conduct of the activity. NBS brochures and posters were also distributed.

With coordination to the school administrators and faculty, VYLH-Philippines volunteers were able to conduct the Schools for Rare Campaign among the students of Los Baños National High School (LBNHS) and Maquiling School Inc. (MSI) in Los Baños, Laguna; Luray II National High School in Cebu; University of Iloilo-PHINMA  (UI-PHINMA) Basic Education Department, Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus (PSHS-WV) and West Visayas State University Integrated Laboratory School (WVSU-ILS) in Iloilo; San Andres High School in Bukidnon; and Lumbocan National High School in Butuan City.

San Andres High School - Bukidnon
Luray II National High School
Philippine Science High School Western Visayas
West Visayas State University Integrated Laboratory School
Maquiling School Incorporated, Los Baños, Laguna
Genetics Camp 2012 (Lecturers: Ms. Aster Lynn Sur, RN - Orphan Disorders Advocate, Genetics Nurse IHG-NIH UP Manila, and Dr. Catherine Lynn Silao, MD, PhD - Member, Board of Directors of the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders, Molecular Geneticist IHG, NIH-UP Manila)


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