Wrigley launches school-based program to improve health, nutrition in school-age children

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The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation today announced the launch of a two-year, $3 million (USD) school health partnership with Save the Children. The initiative will be activated in six countries across the world, aimed at improving the health and nutrition of more than 273,000 school-age children in disadvantaged communities.

The school-based programs will be implemented in China, Kenya, the Philippines, Tajikistan, Vietnam and Indonesia at a grass-roots level.

The programs, announced today by Dushan Petrovich, Wrigley President and President of the Wrigley Company Foundation, will address the needs of school-age children holistically, including physical health, oral health, and nutrition. Health interventions will focus on increasing access to safe water and sanitation in targeted schools and promotion of healthy behaviors, including keeping a clean school environment, hand washing with soap, and practicing oral care, among schoolchildren, teachers and parents.

"Providing access to health services and education, including oral health, is critical to building a positive and sustainable impact on our local communities. We are proud to be working with Save the Children on this program, which is vital to the social and economic productivity of communities," said Petrovich. "These programs will also provide our associates an opportunity to get involved in their communities, and by interacting with young children in schools, we will be boosting awareness across future generations."

"We are pleased to receive this donation from the Wrigley Company Foundation which will allow us to expand our school health programs to reach even more children in Africa, Asia and Central Asia. Diseases like diarrhea, worms and anemia, which are easily preventable and treatable in the United States, keep millions of children in low-income countries out of school.  Even more children go to school sick, which affects their learning ability," said Charles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children. "By teaching school-age children about healthy practices, such as hand washing, good oral hygiene, and eating nutritious foods, and making some changes to the school environment, we can help children learn to be healthy and ensure they are healthy to learn."

Wrigley's Save the Children programs include:

China: The program will provide 15 migrant school health clinics with basic supplies, create individual health records, promote physical exams, review the nutritional value of school meals, and train teachers to deliver health education classes on topics related to health, hygiene and oral health. The program will also mobilize 4,500 migrant parents to support these health and hygiene practices through events and trainings. It will impact more than 23,000 school children, age 6 to 13 in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Kenya: In collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and the Ministry of Education, the program will conduct biannual mass de-worming campaigns and provide vitamin A and iron supplements as necessary. The program also will provide clean toilets, water tanks and washing/tooth brushing facilities, first aid interventions, educate and train teachers on healthy behaviors, and initiate school health clubs. The program will impact 17,200 school children, age 6 to 14 in Nairobi and Kiambu.

Philippines: The program will equip school clinics, establish better recording systems for managing health and assessments, improve facilities through provision of safe water supply, clean toilets, hand washing/tooth brushing facilities, and educate children and teachers on health and nutrition. It will impact about 130,000 school children, age 6 to 12 in more than 80 schools in Manila, Luzon and South Central Mindanao.

Vietnam: The program will help develop guidelines and protocols for school health staff, train teachers to deliver health classes, improve bathrooms and hand washing/tooth brushing facilities and supplies according to identified needs, and mobilize local resources for hygiene supplies. The program will impact about 50,000 school children age 6 to 14, in 30 schools in Hanoi, Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City.

Tajikistan: The program will identify and address key hygiene and sanitation problems in schools, and educate students about hygiene, sanitation and oral health. The program will impact about 30,000 school children, age 6 to 10 in 100 schools in Rasht district and Khatlon province.

Indonesia: Save the Children will expand its existing school health programs to deliver integrated services including hygiene, sanitation and oral health components, reaching an additional 22,500 school children, age 6 to 11 in the Manokwari, Belu and Soppeng Districts.

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