After nearly two and a half years, the partnership between the Visayas Primary Health Care Services, Inc. (VPHCS) and theAsmae- Association Soeur Emmanuelle drew to a close in December 2010, bearing fruits that have benefitted the residents of three urban poor communities in Metro Cebu and the VPHCS itself in many indelible ways. The communities include Sitio St. Mary Grace in Talamban, Cebu City, Sitio Back of Matimco in Subangdaku, Mandaue City and Sitio Salvage in Looc, Lapu-lapu City.
Such partnership started in March 2008 with the first six-months phase, “Community diagnosis” of the three communities, followed by the second phase “Promotion of Environmental Health and Child Nutrition” and “Strengthening the Sustainability Aspect of the VPHCS” in April 2009 to December 2009 and the third phase, “Strengthening and Sustaining the Community-based Health Programs” in January 2010 to December 2010.”
In the three communities, health committees are now leading their respective people’s organizations in health services such as basic home remedies, health educations, operation blood pressure, processing and dispensing of lagundi syrup, dengue campaign, nutrition program and cleanliness drives. Monthly health educations on topics such as respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis, hypertension and nutrition have continued to be launched in the communities.
In Sitio Back of Matimco and Sitio Salvage, all health activities are conducted in the health centers that were constructed with funds from the project and labor from the people themselves.
Common and essential Western medicines are also dispensed and sold with a minimal profit. The residents have welcomed this small pharmacy in the health center that has provided them a very accessible source of essential medicines such as Paracetamol, antacids and amoxicillin. Records of patients and activities are also well kept in cabinets inside the health center.
Twenty-one community health workers (CHWs) from the areas were trained in three basic health skills trainings (BHST) I.
The community kitchen which was started in November 2009 continues to this day in order to sustain the feeding program of malnourished children. Feeding is conducted two times a week. More than 130 children in the three communities have benefitted from the nutritional rehabilitation.
In Sitio Back of Matimco, the residents united under their people’s organization, the KALUWASAN, using shovels and pails, carried gravel and land from the reclaimed land and dumped them in between and below their houses and in footpaths and alleys to prevent flooding. Environmental campaign for cleanliness has also been sustained by the youth organized under the D’Visioners Youth Organization collecting the trash and putting them in big garbage drums.
In Sitio Back of Matimco, a communal toilet was also constructed in 2010 inside the health center which is open to the public since the health center is always open. The CHWs take turns in manning the center and ensuring the cleanliness of the toilet.
Another communal toilet was constructed in Purok Yellow Bell in Sitio Salvage in Looc. Residents used to defecate in the seashore beside the purok or simply throw their wastes to the murky waters underneath their houses.
A great contribution of Asmae to the VPHCS was the fund raising mission it supported which lasted from January to July 2010.
A series of three staff development seminars on fund raising was conducted by Ms. Lani Bayron, fund raising specialist contracted by Asmae. The outputs included the following, namely:
• Training needs analysis on fund raising
• Fund raising organizational policies and procedures
• Resource generation plan for 2010
• Assistance on sustainability planning
• Exploration of foreign and local funders
• Marketing plan for Balay Kahimsog
• Knowledge on social enterprise, program marketing and project development and management.
• Participation by the VPHCS executive director in fund raising seminars in March, June 2010 in Manila with Asmae partners
• Prospect of setting up an endowment or buffer fund for VPHCS.
As a result of the mission, the VPHCSI staff members became knowledgeable on fund raising activities and broadened their understanding about fundraising.
The project has ended but its contributions to the welfare of the people in the communities and the organizational capacity of the VPHCS shall always remain.