Improving the health service delivery and advocacy in the Bangsamoro

Kailan Camim is a registered midwife in Maguindanao. She takes charge of the Heath Center in Brgy. Balut, Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao.

Kailan shares her experience of health service to the locals in said barangay. She recalls that when she started working there in 1993, only few were coming to them for medical attention. She also observed the poor health condition of the barangay particularly on sanitation.

“There was really a poor sanitation and hygiene practice of the locals which I see whenever I visit their homes to check on the causes of some of their health problems e.g. diarrhea”, Kailan told.

“And right there and then, I would educate them gradually of the importance of cleaning for the overall health of their families and the whole community”, she added.

With this approach of reaching out to the people, Kailan is happy that of the improved health status of the people in the barangay.

According to her, many are regularly coming to the Health Center for medical check-up.

“For instance, pregnant women now are talking to us regarding their conditions. They come here regularly. At present, there are thirty-seven pregnant mothers here at Brgy. Balut who are well-recorded and being monitored”, Kailan shared.

She also proud and happy telling to us that Sultan Mastura tops among the 36 municipalities in Maguindanao of having the most number of pregnant women who are giving birth at medical facilities.

Kailan told that this is because of the strong support of the municipal local government unit (MLGU) of Sultan Mastura on reproductive health.

“Our MLGU really encouraged our women to deliver their babies in the birthing clinic present here in the town. The MLGU provides support such as PhilHealth and free registration of birth certificates to the babies born at the center. And in cases where there are severe cases, there is an ambulance always available to transport the patient to the nearest hospital”, she related.

Health condition in the Bangsamoro

In a conversation with Kailan on the health status in Brgy. Balut where she serves as midwife, she mentioned that one of the major problems in the community is teenage pregnancy.

“Many of the pregnant women we met are at very young age, and they are mostly out-of-school-youth (OSY)”, she told.

She added, “many of them are expectedly no knowledge about their condition, the proper health care they should be observing and the risks if they do not do so, and of course about parenting when their babies are born”.

Lack of health facilities and limited number of basic medicines were also one of the gaps mentioned.
Such issues are among the health problems that the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) intends to address through its program “Strengthening Capacities of Reproductive Health Delivery and Advocacy in the Bangsamoro” supported by the United Nations’ Population Fund (UNFPA).

The implementation of this program is part of the priorities on health needs in the Bangsamoro as informed by the Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP of 2014.

Some of the data on health that were stated in the Plan is that there are only two doctors for every 10,000 Bangsamoro population; mortality rate of children under five year of age at 55 deaths per 1,000 live births; 73% households do not have access to sanitary toilets and; 63.4% households have no access to safe water source.

The overall goal of the program on “Strengthening Capacities of Reproductive Health Delivery and Advocacy in the Bangsamoro” is to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and promote gender equality in the Bangsamoro and thus, contribute to the attainment of peace and development in the Bangsamoro.

Among the components of this program is a Health Fair, which is designed to deliver medical services to selected communities in the Bangsamoro.

On November 22, 2017, a Health Fair was conducted in Brgy. Balut, Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao.

Brgy. Balut 4, 000 number of households and a total of 2, 000 population.

There were 450 total number of patients benefited from the various health services offered during the mission. They were pregnant women, senior citizens, adult and children.

Services included blood pressure taking, medical laboratory (urine and blood testing), medical consultation, counseling for pregnant women and provision of basic medicines.

Pregnant women also received dignity kit, which is composed of adult and infant diaper, malong (blanket), information materials on pregnancy and health, among others.

This Health Fair was jointly organized together with partners from the Department of Health (DOH), Commission on Population (PopCom), Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), the Bangsamoro Medical Society (BMS), the PhilHealth, and the LGU of Sultan Mastura and Brgy. Balut.

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