Emergency Response Manager, Andrew MacCalla, recently returned from a trip to the Philippines to facilitate long-term typhoon recovery efforts. He shares a report from the field below:
All 16 of the Barangay Health Stations in the Municipality of Concepcion were damaged in the typhoon. As an essential safety net for medical care in remote communities, Direct Relief sponsored the reconstruction of two priority health stations that were identified by the Mayor of Concepcion, Milliard Villanueva, as well as the Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Helen Minguez.
In the Philippines, the first point of medical care is the Barangay Health Station (BHS). During inclement weather or emergency situations, mothers who live on one of the 11 islands off the mainland will deliver at the remote island barangays, or villages. To provide a safer birthing environment in these vulnerable situations, the reconstruction plans of both health stations included a birthing clinic. Working with partner Access Aid International (AAI), the two sites have completely transformed.
In less than five months after Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda), both health stations received full roofing replacement, replacement of broken windows, replacement of damaged ceiling panels, provision of solar electricity supply, safe drinking water, and restoration of essential medicine and medical equipment to match that of the established Philippine Ministry of Health Essential Medicines and Medical Equipment list.
Some of the donated items include: delivery beds, nebulizers, stools, medical cabinets and trolleys, IV stands and baby cribs. Direct Relief Midwife Kits will also be provided to both BHS birthing clinics. So far, these are the only two health stations of the 16 damaged that have received any sort of repair or reconstruction in Concepcion.
Additionally, Direct Relief and AAI are supporting primary healthcare in Concepcion by conducting full microbiological water testing of certain water points and waterborne disease outbreak monitoring in partnership with the Concepcion Mayor and Municipal Health Office. Water testing involves measures of turbidity, pH, chlorine, and incubating water samples to test for faecal coliforms (E. coli).