Rosa is a member of an IP community. Used to their traditional ways of healing, lack of financial resources, and fear of being discriminated prevents her and her family members from availing the services of the community health center. This, however, gradually changed when the Municipal Health Office in their town approached their village elders and informed them that health service access and delivery can be in their hands. They were gathered for a meeting, then invited to attend training on health and taught how to make survey forms to know the health conditions of the community, then further trainings analyzing the survey forms, and soon making their own community health program. Not long, Rosa became one of the Community Health Workers (CHWs) receiving and also sharing health services to her family and other IPs in their area. Now she’s also training other volunteers to become CHWs and is engaged in the community health financing scheme where each family contributes one peso a day for use by any of the member families in case of sickness. She feels empowered to receive and provide health services and to advocate for health for all IPs.
This is just one of the many similar stories shared at the recent international workshop on Empowerment of Peoples through Community Participation for Sustainable Local Health System: The Case of Tanay, Rizal, Philippines.
“The IP situation in Tanay maybe unique but the needs to address the health concern of the IPs is universal,” said Mayor Rafael Tanjuatco of Tanay. The International Workshop focused on the sharing of the Municipality of Tanay and other countries’ experiences on community empowerment, especially the IPs, in taking charge of and bringing health care services to the people.
Focusing on the use of alternative medicine and recognizing the values of traditional herbal plants, Governor Rebecca Ynares of Rizal Province said that “the time has never been better and the reasons never greater for giving traditional medicine its proper place in addressing the many ills of the modern and traditional societies, including the IPs. It is only when there is recognition of indigenous resources as priority areas for development that the empowerment of the IPs will be attained.”
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