Providing medical services for relocated informal settlers
MANILA, Philippines – Many impoverished communities do not receive ample medical attention.
One of the reasons for this is the lack of properly functioning medical facilities in these areas. Other factors include the scarce medicines and the lack of medical professionals who can regularly provide needed services without charging unaffordable high fees to indigent patients.
One such community is located in San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan. It is populated with former informal settlers relocated from various Metro Manila communities, including Pandacan, Tondo, and Sta. Ana in Manila.
At least 600,000 people reside in the municipality according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, making it among the top 20 most populous towns in the country.
Towerville, a Gawad Kalinga community situated in Barangay Minuyan, is inhabited by around 10,000 people. Data showed that at least 2,000 from this figure are living below the poverty line and are relocated informal settlers.
Only around 3 small operational medical facilities exist in the barangay to service the community, affecting the delivery of effective medical attention to patients.
To help fill this gap, the UST Medical Alumni Association of America Class of 1958 built the Klinika Tomasino, a 50-square-meter structure located in Towerville. This was built back in the early 2010s. Back then, it services to around 100 to 150 people a day.
Unfortunately, the facility stopped its operations in 2015.
Junior Chamber International Manila Chapter (JCI Manila), in cooperation with Gawad Kalinga and other sponsors, sought to take the first step towards addressing the medical needs in Towerville.
For 4 months, the JCI Team led by JCI Manila President Nino Namoco, JCI Manila Director Michael Uy, Project Chairman Leeron Borja, MD, and team members Atty. Christian Chan, Robin Michael Garcia, PhD, James Alba and Raschid Lim renovated the structure of the clinic, provided adequate medicines and medical facilities and reached out to various medical professional and organizations who can commit to the provision of medical services for a period of at least one year.
All these were possible through around 20 generous and kind-hearted sponsors and partners who provided financial and other forms of support for the project.
The project was launched last July 23, when JCI Manila and Gawad Kalinga formally inked the partnership.
With the distribution of medicines and other health-related paraphernalia, a medical mission was also held in Towerville where University of Perpetual Help doctors serviced around 350 patients.
Realizing that education should also complement health awareness, the Immaculada Concepcion College, a higher education institution not far from the community and one of the major financial sponsors of the project, also awarded 20 full scholarships for hardworking and promising Towerville elementary and high school students. – Rappler.com
Robin Michael Garcia is a political economic risk consultant who recently finished his PhD in International Politics at Fudan University in Shanghai