As part of the ongoing recovery efforts in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda), Direct Relief recently granted $50,000 to Australian-based partner aid organization, Access Aid International to help restore maternal and child health services to affected areas, with efforts beginning this week.
The grant will support renovation of birthing facilities in Bagongon as well as Macatunao – both located in the Municipality of Concepcion – by making sure they have clean water, power, and adequate roofing. It will also ensure they are fully-stocked with adequate medical supplies and equipment. Because of the damages incurred from the typhoon, deliveries of newborns have ceased during hours of darkness at the birth centers.
Additionally, the grant will help improve the capacity of Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) to better treat children and new and expecting mothers. BHWs undergo a basic training program and provide health information, education, and primary care services in their communities. The grant will train 25 BHWs (three from the larger islands and one from each smaller island).
The training will focus on treating common childhood illness, including assessing their nutritional status, as well as educating their primary care giver. The BHWs will also encourage women to breastfeed newborns to prevent infection and malnutrition and Direct Relief will support the program with necessary nutritional supplements and vitamins as needs are identified.
Furthermore, the grant will help provide continued support to the Ministry of Health as the lead physician and her team in the Municipality of Concepcion administer medical services and training during the recovery period. This includes their Mobile Health Clinics, which help bring health care to people displaced by the storm. Direct Relief will assist by providing new equipment as well as midwife kits with the supplies needed for a safe delivery.