The VPHCS project with the Asian Community Trust (ACT) of Japan, “Sustaining community-based health programs to promote health and prevent disease in Bohol” is on its third year.
The project is implemented in Barangay Sto. Nino, San Miguel and Barangay Caluasan, Dagohoy, in partnership with the people’s organizations, Hugpong Mag-uuma sa San Miguel (HUMASA) or the Farmers Association in San Miguel and the Mga Mag-uuma sa Lakalsanda Apektado sa Land Levelling (Farmers in Lakalsanda affected by Land Levelling) in Caluasan.
There are 125 households (679 population) in Sto. Nino and 402 households (2,132 population) in Caluasan.
Since the project started in April 2010, it has greatly benefitted the residents who are mostly poor farmers in dire need of health services in their rural areas. Through various programs developed and sustained by the people’s organizations through their trained CHWs and health committees, the project has reaped increased health awareness and improved health practices and rendered basic health services to the people.
The project witnessed widespread health information dissemination on disease prevention and health promotion, covering topics including home remedies for common ailments, nutrition, basic first aid, family planning and contraception, control of acute respiratory tract infections, and control of diarrheal diseases, among others.
Health services by trained CHWs addressed common illnesses such as upper respiratory tract infections or common colds, diarrhea, fever, gastritis, muscle and joint pains, tension headaches, and skin diseases with the use of herbal medicines, water therapy, ventusa, and over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol, antacids, oral rehydration salts, and common antibiotics. Cases that they cannot handle were quickly referred to the project health services officer and to the health centers or government hospitals for more specialized care.
Hypertensive patients were screened by trained CHWs in the series of operation blood pressuring monitoring and were referred to the project health services officer and to the health centers for further work-up for possible complications and associated illnesses such as heart diseases and diabetes mellitus.
A nutrition program was started in the second year in both barangays which did not only have mass feeding of malnourished children identified in operation weighing and growth monitoring but also maintenance of proper nutrition through health information on nutrition, proper food preparation, cheap and easily available food sources and feeding practices to the mothers provided by trained CHWs.
A family planning program was launched in Caluasan, Dagohoy which included community education classes on reproductive health and contraception and referral by the CHWs of women desiring birth control to the health centers to avail of contraceptives such as pills and condoms.
The third year that started in April 2012 shall sustain the gains of the two years in terms of making the CHWs more capable of addressing the health problems in the communities. Advanced health skills trainings shall be conducted to enable them to manage more difficult medical cases. Special skills trainings shall enable them to effectively launch and sustain their ongoing health campaigns, the nutritional rehabilitation of malnourished children, promotion of proper nutrition, family planning, control of hypertension, and provision of essential herbal and rational Western medicines.
Furthermore, a small community health center shall be constructed in each of the two barangays, which shall serve as venues for the meetings of the CHWs, health education classes, clinics for regular check-ups and services, and the botica sa barangay (village pharmacy). Herbal medicines to be processed by the residents, medical supplies and materials, leaflets on common health problems and essential Western medicines aside from the patients’ medical records will be stocked safely in the health centers.
To strengthen the sustainability of their health programs, the leaders of the people’s organizations shall continue to network with their barangay councils, municipal governments, health centers and civic organizations in order to generate financial and material resources.
These prospects have been planned together with the leaders of the two people’s organizations.