ree ride – Patients from neigh
boring islands of Taganak (Turtle Islands) gets a free ride from the Philippine Navy’s BRP Pangasinan to and from the medical mission site.The Philippines Navy, US soldiers and other volunteers provided a major assistance the DOH-ARMM and the IPHO’s of Tawi-tawi and Basilan in their medical missions in these remote islands. (doh-armm)
ARMM Health Goes the Distance and Reaches Beyond
Tawi-Tawi, the Last Frontier in the South.
Braving the scorching heat of the sun and the staggering hours of travel by sea, the ARMM health reaches out, bringing hope and vision to more than 2000 deprived people of Tawi-Tawi amidst threats and difficulties.
Following the successful outreach mission in the Mapun and Turtle islands of Tawi-Tawi last year, the Department of Health ARMM has again proved its commitment to achieve Universal Health Care for the people of ARMM. A 5-day health caravan medical-surgical-safe motherhood outreach activity on in the geographically disadvantaged island municipalities of Languyan and Sapa-Sapa, Tawi-Tawi was conducted on March 18-25, 2012
The “Alay ni RG- Kasama Mo si Sec” project, a surgical, dental, safe motherhood and reproductive health outreach and information drive activity brought not only medical-surgical services to the islanders but also essential health information on maternal and child health and nutrition, reproductive health, and birth spacing through the incorporation of the DOH National’s Lakbay Buhay Kalusugan (Journey to Health), a comprehensive health promotion caravan to bring information and education to families in remote communities, to the AR-KMS project.
“Ignorance in health is not bliss. It kills,”Secretary Jojo Sinolinding emphasizes on the importance of health education and information drive.
With the theme, “Sa Biyaheng Kalusugan Kasama mo si Sec”, the KMS-LBK mobilized many health workers and local volunteers who poured out their sincere efforts in uplifting their people’s health status. The fusion of the heroic efforts of the health workers and the LGU’s support, more than 1000 people in Languyan town including from as far as Tahau Islands (Pearl Banks) received free cataract and other eye surgeries (restoring vision to 25 visually challenged people), minor surgeries, dental services and free medical consultations on March 23-25, 2012.
Quote from PHO Dr. Asri., “We came to campaign not for politics but for health. And please don’t push me to go further, this is far more important” he stressed. On a separate but concurrent outreach activity on March 24-25, more than 1000 men, women including pregnant mothers and children, some of them even traveled by pump boat from the farthest island barangays of Sapa-sapa municipality escorted by their barangay captains received health care services, antenatal care, child health care services, including but not limited to deworming, Vitamin A supplementation, and immunizations, together with health information through entertainment-education activities like interactive health exhibit, health classes, songs, dances, and storytelling sessions that stimulate and sustain healthy behaviors in maternal, child health, nutrition, and family planning through the launching of Lakbay Buhay Kalusugan (Journey to Health).
And from Languyan, ARMM Health Secretary Dr. Kadil Jojo Sinolinding Jr. continued the campaign and led his AR-KMS team to Sapa-Sapa, reached by boat through a 6 hour journey where free cataract and other eye surgeries are again provided, again bringing back sparks of hope to blind people. Bilateral Tubal Ligation and other minor surgeries were also provided as part of the project.
“I cannot allow myself to just sit and wait when I know that there are a lot of blind people out there who survive in darkness and misery, while mothers and children die needlessly just because they are poor. Poverty is already a social injustice, making them hopeless aggravates further” Sec Jojo declared.
The success of the event was a result of the partnerships among the municipal and provincial LGU headed by Gov. Sadikul Sahali, Languyan Mayor Ysmael Sali, and Sapa-Sapa Mayor Alsaggab Moh. Ali, IPHO Team headed by Dr. Sukarno Asri, Dr. George Lee heads Tuan Liggadung Lipae District Hospital Team, Dr Leonard Wee of Languyan Municipal Hospital, Helen Keller International, DepEd, the Philippine Navy, Philippine National Police, and other humanitarian health partners with the loftiest hard work of the health workers – nurses, midwives, barangay health workers, etc. This fusion of common endeavor is a great and exemplary picture of many hands cooking the soup in harmony producing the best of them. In return, the health of the people whom we focus our efforts could be uplifted a little higher from the depressing situation that almost everyone perceives, by the will and interest of the leaders and the constituents.
3 days prior to Tawi-tawi journey, despite the security threats by ongoing skirmishes in nearby barangays of Sumisip, Health Department of ARMM fulfilled their promise to serve its people. Kasama Mo si Sec Project has served hundreds of people including cataract and glaucoma surgeries. The Sumisip District Hosptial has virtually been obliterated in the map of government health facilities until September last year when Secretary Sinolinding re-opened it after 13 years of being closed to public. With the support of Mayor Boy Hataman of LGU Sumisip, PNP, and AFP, many sighed in relief with a renewed belief that the health campaign heralds the beginning of a full functioning hospital in the area.
Health for All in ARMM
From the cries of hopelessness and injustices to jubilation and enlightenment and from eyes and hearts laden with apathy and ignorance to eyes filled with hope and understanding, -- such could be the transformation now in the people of ARMM, a region that has for the longest time been subjected to endless disparaging true stories of affected people being pawns and victims of political conflicts and terrorism.
And for the longest time, this depressing situation overpowered the needs of the people for basic health services. Taken for granted, our mothers and children were dying unnecessarily because of poor health service deliveries.
When before, you see faces of scarcity and eyes of apathy, significant changes bringing back hope and trust in the hearts of our people have emerged under the current stewardship of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv S. Hataman. And together with the Department Health-ARMM, health of our people has become a stellar priority as it strives to achieve equal access to health services for the people.
Now on the driver’s seat, DOH-ARMM goes the distance and reaches beyond. The AR-KMS-LBK success has then led to the commitment of DOH-ARMM to steer its health caravan journey towards even the farthest islands in ARMM and to include as well the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Sulu in sustaining their health service provisions and serving thousands more in the region.
The Tawi-Tawi floating clinic
Midwife teaching traditional birth attendant proper prenatal care.
Father bringing his child for Vitamin A supplementation.
A child joining in the interactive exhibit
Warm welcome among locals compete the scorching sun, the trademark of Tawi-tawi hospitality
DOH-ARMM Sec. Sinolinding with Tawi-Tawi PHO Dr. Asri joining welcome party.
A mother facing a mirror, attending the interactive health class on Safe Motherhood.
Dr. Rabino doing eye screening among visually impaired people.
Oplan Pangalawang Paningin. Even local Official receives free cataract surgery
Mothers and children are among the participants of the “Lakbay Buhay Kalusugan AR-KMS” Project. Mothers and children clamor to be registered in Sapa-SApa Municipality
Fathers join in the “Usapang Macho”, health class on reproductive health in Sapa-SApa
Medical Consultation in Languyan with Dr. Falmi usman
With Oplan Pangalawang Paningin, smiles of happiness were apparent.
Oplan Tali” with the BTL Team headed by Dr. Chio and Dr. Floresca