Graduate students of the Yokohama National University (YNU) in Japan came to know about community-based health programs (CBHPs) in Cebu during their visit with the Visayas Primary Health Care Services, Inc. last August 24, 2011.
The six students were led by their Professor, Osamu Koike, PhD., Professor of Public Policy and Administration of the International Graduate School of Social Sciences of the YNU. Sun Star Columnist and Prof. Cherry Ballescas of the Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE)–Cebu facilitated the visit of the group.
In their visit in the VPHCS office, VPHCS staff members Dr. Erlinda Posadas explained the programs of the VPHCS which work in partnership with people’s organizations in depressed communities in providing basic health services by developing CBHPs based on the principles of primary health care.
In order to have a better understanding of CBHPs, the group visited Sitio Back of Matimco in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City, where they talked with community health workers (CHWs) who shared how they render basic promotive, preventive and certain curative services in their community. The Japanese students also had an ocular survey of the houses, walked in flooded ground and talked with the residents. The students learned about the difficult situation facing the residents and were inspired about how they have collectively worked, through their organization, the Kaming Lumulupo walay Sandigan (KALUWASAN) to improve their living conditions. Flooding has been a perennial problem in the sitio due to the absence of a drainage system and worsened by the reclamation of a portion of the land.
The Japanese visitors had also visited an urban poor community in Metro Manila prior to their visit in Cebu. Their visit in Manila was facilitated by Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan, RCE member VPHCS Board of Trustees member and UP – Manila Professor.