Advancing primary health care in urban poor barangays in Cebu

June 2011 – May 2013

The Visayas Primary Health Care Services availed of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the Bayan Muna Party-List which was channeled to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to implement health projects that benefitted 23 poor communities in barangays in Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-lapu City, Talisay City, Minglanilla, Aloguinsan, and Cordova from January 2008 to May 2013.

The projects trained more than 200 community health workers (CHWs) on basic health skills, and provided health education and medical and dental services to the residents of the communities.

The last project was a two-year project that started in June 2011 and ended in May 30, 2013. Dubbed as “Building community-based health programs (CBHP) in Cebu through training, education and services,” the project was implemented in Barangay T. Padilla, Sitio Ermita Proper in Barangay Ermita, and Sitio Lawis in Barangay Pasil in Cebu City, Sitio Back of Matimco, Barangay Subangdaku in Mandaue City, and Barangay Canjulao in Lapu-lapu City. Beneficiaries in the barangays included 310 households in Barangay T. Padilla, 240 households in Sitio Ermita Proper, 220 households in Sitio Lawis, 160 households in Sitio Back of Matimco, and 500 households in Barangay Canjulao.

The project worked with people’s organizations in the communities, including the Pundok sa Sitio Para sa Kauswagan (PSPK) in T. Padilla, Ermita Fisherfolks Association in Ermita, Pasil Women’s Association in Pasil, KALUWASAN in Sitio Back of Matimco, and the Nagkahisang Kabus sa Lapu-lapu in Canjulao. They have health committees with community health workers (CHWs).

A series of health skills trainings of three levels were conducted for 75 CHWs in the five barangays in order to equip them with basic knowledge and skills to render preventive, promotive and selective curative care to the residents. Health education classes were also conducted among residents in the areas to promote health awareness with the aim to empower them in terms of health care delivery on common health problems that can be prevented in the community level. The VPHCS staff also guided, monitored and upgraded the knowledge and skills of the trained CHWs in between trainings as they delivered their health services to the residents.

Back of Matimco community health worker taking blood pressure.

The project is highly significant today with the prevalence of common health problems that can be addressed in the community level. It has been observed that people seek tertiary care in the hospitals when they are already affected with serious illnesses that could have been prevented in their early stage in their homes. With increased health awareness and capacity in knowing, preventing and taking care of their own health needs through home remedies and indigenous resources in their communities, the incidence of serious illnesses and preventable ailments can be lessened. Eventually, the high cost of hospital care which unfortunately is now generally shouldered from out-of-the pockets can also be lessened. In the long term, quality of life can be enhanced.