Medical missions, health services for children and Balay Kahimsog in Bohol

The continuing support of the FACCHD

The Fil-Am Center for Community Health and Development (FACCHD) is a group of Filipino Americans who are residents in Pleasanton, California, U.S.A. The group has supported the Visayas Primary Health Care Services for the past several years until the present in its community-based health programs (CBHPs) endeavors in Cebu and Bohol.

The FACCHD is also instrumental in the construction of the Balay Kahimsog, a two-storey building in Barangay Cambanac, Municipality of Baclayon, Bohol which, since its operation in 2009, has served its purpose as a training center for community health workers in CBHPs in Bohol, a resource center for primary health care and alternative forms of medicine including herbal medicine, and an enterprise to generate income for the programs and services of the CBHPs.

The FACCHD also donated two otoscopes, an instrument for taking the height, Snellen’s charts and two autoclaves for the medical missions of the VPHCS. It has also provided valuable funds for the administrative costs of the VPHCS.

In 2014, the FACCHD donated a vehicle for the use of the Balay Kahimsog.

The FACCHD also supported the medical missions launched by the VPHCS for the October 15 earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda disasters. Specifically, the missions were conducted in the far-flung mountain barangay of Dinaayan, Municipality of Burauen, Leyte on March 8, 9, 2014 and in Barangay Cambitoon, a rural village in the Municipality of Inabanga, Bohol on March 15, 2014. More than 700 patients availed of medical services in the two missions.

Balay Kahimsog in Baclayon, Bohol constructed with funds raised by the FACCHD.

Since March 2009, the VPHCS conducted a series of medical missions in marginalized rural communities in Bohol with the support of the FACCHD. Specifically, the physical examinations of public elementary students included the determination of the children’s weights, heights and visual acuity, check-up of general body systems and dental status, and urinalysis. As a result of the examinations, children with nutritional status below normal and those with visual, dental, and probable kidney function problems were identified. Those with other illnesses and acute problems were also properly managed.

Generally, the problem of malnutrition both wasting and stunting was noted among the children. Most children were too short and thin for their age. It is a reality that in rural communities in Bohol where farmers depend primarily on corn, bananas, cassava and other root crops for their staple food and vegetables grown in their backyards for viand, seldom do they eat meat and fish and other protein-rich food.

The second problem identified that was common in all areas was dental caries. It is a reality that dentists are very rare in rural Bohol; a government dentist serves five or more than five municipalities at a time so that it is only once a week that a dentist goes to a certain municipality.

The Balay Kahimsog has been the site of seminars, retreats, trainings, and other gatherings of our community health workers as well as non-government organizations, religious congregations, people’s organizations, and schools from Cebu, Bohol and Leyte.

With its spacious open-air conference hall overlooking the sea on one side and the mountains on the other side in the entire second floor, a dormitory that could accommodate twenty persons, a room for two to three persons, an office, a kitchen, a living room and a reading area in the lobby, it has served our clients’ needs well. Today, it continues to do so.

The partnership of the VPHCS with the FACCHD has spanned more than a decade, bonded by the common commitment to be of service to the least fortunate of the Filipinos in the rural communities in Cebu and Bohol. We believe such bond and commitment shall continue to last through the coming years.