In Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte, barangays are rewarded for being healthy
MANILA, Philippines – “The strength of local government is not in the strength of the leader only; it’s in the strength of every Del Carmenon who support the programs of the government.”
You would often hear Mayor Alfredo Coro II of Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte, say that. Unless your constituents have sound minds and bodies, they won't be able to function well and contribute to their communities' development.
And believing too that people work better with the prospects of reward, the local chief executive devised a program that would reward barangays as they improve and maintain proper health management.
In 2012, Coro introduced the Seal of Health Governance (SOHG) program with the help of Zuellig Family Foundation. Barangays would have to accumulate specific numbers of points to be categorized as Gold, Silver, and Bronze, and receive cash rewards of P20,000, P10,000, and P5,000, respectively.
There is a set of criteria with corresponding point system to objectively evaluate the barangays:
- Number of maternal death - 10 points if no maternal death
- Number of infant death - 10 points if no infant death
- Number of facility-based deliveries - 10 points if 100%
- Number of fully-immunized children - 10 points if 100%
- Malnutrition rate - 10 points if 0 to 5%
- Percentage of household with sanitary toilets - 10 points if 100%
- Percent of population with waterborne diseases - 10 points if 0 to 5%
- Percentage of barangay budget for health - 10 points if greater than 3%
- Existing legislative resolutions for health - 10 points if all key legislations are present (Barangay Health Board, no hilot, sanitation in every household, waste segregation)
- Gulayang Bayan in Barangay - 10 points if vegetables are included in the feeding program for at least one month
- Number of households with proper waste management - 10 points if 100%
- Presence of key health functions in purok - 10 points if all functions are present (presence of purok area, clean environment, fixed chairs and roof, Data Health Board, available first aid kit)
- Functional Botika ng Barangay - 10 points if all functions are present (stock of 20 essential drugs, positive net profit, audit has no adverse advice)
- Functional Barangay Health Board - 10 points if all activities are being done (at least 1 meeting per quarter, plan presentation during barangay assembly, innovation proposal for infant and mortality rates, recognized and trained workers, no stray animals)
- Proper Animal Management - 10 points if all the specific measures are being done (all animals with potential rabies reported, scheduled rabies treatment, all stray animals collected)
If a barangay shows growing signs of unhealthy constituents, then the points it has received will decrease.
These criteria, however, is highly flexible for additional health indicators, depending on what the community deems necessary.
The highest possible score for Del Carmen’s scorecard is 150 out of 150. The barangays that will have 91% to 100% total rating shall be awarded the Gold Seal, 81% to 90% shall be awarded the Silver Seal, and 71% to 80% shall be awarded the Bronze Seal.
The barangays are able to focus on improving their own health systems rather than competing with other barangays since there are no limits to how many barangays could fall under a certain category. If all of the barangays qualify for the gold category, then all of them get P20,000.
The first year that the program was implemented, it was not as successful as what Coro envisioned it to be. Only 10 out of 20 barangays participated at the time because not all of them were interested. Also, only two bronze prizes were awarded.
The good develoment in those few barangays, however, has encouraged other barangays to join the program since. By 2014, all the barangays had participated and more have received rewards.
As a result of the constituents’ effort to make their community better, Coro reported that Del Carmen experienced tremendous improvement in their health numbers. The number of infant deaths dropped significantly and they were able to detect major communicable diseases even before they became uncontrollable.
Additionally, they were able to improve their health facilities and equipment 3 years after the implementation of SOHG. One barangay was able to develop an innovation in sanitary toilets and it is now selling toilet bowls to nearby communities in Siargao Islands.
This is evidence of how people can achieve their goals through “collective effort,” a resident of Del Carmen said.
One wrong action, like not keeping track of the immunization records of the children, can affect the points their barangay can achieve, so they learned to be aware of these, not only among themselves but also within their own barangays.
The success of SOHG can be partly attributed to how everyone contributed to improving the municipality’s public health system. All it takes is a genuinely concerned leader and a cooperative group of followers. Wouldn’t it be exciting to see the program replicated in more municipalities in the Philippines? Who wouldn't want a healthy community? – Rappler.com
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