Not even the storage of toothbrushes was spared by state auditors who looked into the hygiene and sanitation of five public schools in Cagayan De Oro city, state auditors said.
This was the result of the Commission on Audit (COA) citizens participatory audit report on the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) program of five public schools in Cagayan de Oro city. The audit was conducted February to May 2016.
Auditors said the way toothbrushes were stored has a direct effect on the oral health of the students.
“How to store toothbrush can affect the oral health of students. If toothbrush is overrun with germs such as bacteria and mold due to improper storage, students may get infected causing them illness.” COA said.
The following public schools were part of the audit – Bulua Central School, City Central School, Gusa Elementary School, Camaman-an Elementary School, and Macabalan Elementary School.
In Bulua Central School, the toothbrushes of students under Grade 6 Sections Garcia and Roxas were not properly labeled while some do not have covers.
“This condition is prone to swapping or mixing up of brushes,” COA said.
Meanwhile, in Section Osmeña, the covers of toothbrushes don’t have holes for air to circulate, allowing molds to grow within the covers and brushes.
The toothbrushes stored in the holder of Grade 6 -Garcia were likewise not exposed to air promoting growth of molds and bacteria.
In Camaman-an Elementary School, Grade 6 Section Jade students have only six toothbrushes and these do not even belong to the students.
“No toothpaste nor toothpaste dispenser were found inside the classroom,” COA said.
The toothbrushes stored in the holder of Grade 6 Section Emerald, also do not belong to the class but were those lleft behind by the previous students of the school.
“These were for display only,” COA said.
In Gusa Elementary School, there was no cabinet or washstand for the toiletries inside the room.
The teacher however made their own design for the toothbrushes keeper, but it showed this was still unused.
Because there are several users of the room due to three shifting of classrooms, these items were kept in the teacher’s drawer.
Each toothbrush was in the position marked/labelled for each student.
These is also no group tooth brushing done inside the classroom due to the shifting of classes and time constraints.
COA recommended to the schools management to strictly advise the teachers to carry out their role as effective hygiene promoters; store toothbrushes upright; provide toothbrushes with covers having small holes and toothbrush holders with good ventilation; properly design toothbrush holders and label each toothbrush; and always keep toothbrushes and holders clean.
“Because one of the main purposes of toothbrush is to remove bacteria from the mouth, it is important to keep the toothbrush sanitary and free from bacteria,” COA said.
“The Essential Health Care Program (EHCP) aims to improve the health of students through behavioral change. The role of teachers is vital to the success of the EHCP, because they are important instrument in bringing about the change,” it added.
The Department of Education Division of Cagayan de Oro acknowledged the findings and deemed the report an “eye-opener” for them to intensify its monitoring of tooth brushing drills and ocular inspection of EHCP materials inside the classrooms.