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Building Community-based Health Programs to Promote Health and Prevent Disease in Bohol

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The Visayas Primary Health Care Services, Inc. (VPHCS), with the support of the Asian Community Trust (ACT) has been implementing a project “Building community-based health programs to promote health and prevent disease in Bohol.”

The project areas are Barangay Sto. Nino in the Municipality of San Miguel and Barangay Caluasan in the Municipality of Dagohoy in Bohol. The communities have been affected by the failure of the Malinao Dam Project which has worsened their economic situation that in turn affected their health conditions.

The project which started in April 2010 works with the farmers’ organization in Sto. Nino, the Hugpong Mag-uuma sa San Miguel (HUMASA) or the Farmers Association in San Miguel and the farmers’ organization Mga Mag-Uuma sa LACALSANDA Apektado sa Land Levelling (MALALA) (Farmers in Lacalsanda affected by Land levelling) in Caluasan.

A basic health skills training was conducted last August 9 – 14 for community health workers (CHWs) in order to equip them with knowledge and skills to build community based health programs which shall address the common health problems in their communities.

Capacity building is a primary strategy in the project which will enable the CHWs and the leaders of the people’s organizations to launch health campaigns that will address the prevalence of common preventable and communicable diseases. Direct health services by project staff and volunteer health professionals shall also address the diseases in the communities.

The Asian Community Trust (ACT), Japan’s first fund raising-style charitable trust, was established in 1979 to assist people at the grass-roots level in Asian developing countries. It has supported projects in more than five Asian countries, in fields spanning health, medical treatment, education, youth training, and development of rural communities. It has funded several projects in urban poor settlers and fishermen communities in Cebu.

Health programs that answer the health needs of the communities shall be instituted in the project by the trained CHWs together with the leaders and members of their people’s organizations. Community participation and involvement in designing the health programs appropriate for the communities shall be ensured as it is a hallmark in community-based health programs and is the cornerstone in the primary health care approach of health service delivery.

The health programs are based on results of surveys and key informant interviews that gathered data on the socio-demographic profile and health data including common health problems, causes of deaths, the immunization status and nutritional status of preschoolers, health services available in the community, methods of family planning and nutritional and food practices of the families.

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