Municipal Government of Subic, Zambales
Best Practice Focus Area/s
Leadership Strategy Citizens / Customers
15 April 2016
This is a GBPR 2021 Finalist Entry
The Calapandayan Maternal and Child Health Program Initiative is a product of the allied health services attached to the rural health unit of Subic Zambales. The health program is the answer to the growing problem of lack of expert services, governance, human capital development, and limited funding resources in poor resource settings in the Philippines. The Calapandayan Program Initiative aims to develop community-level primary care management and treatment of the most vulnerable segment in the barangay of Calapandayan. Children, the elderly, and mothers with neurological and psychiatric problems are managed by expert physicians, trained allied personnel, and rural health community advocates.
Background and Problem
The municipality of Subic was spending an inordinate amount of financial resources on having these children brought to Manila for their treatment and management. There were no rational solutions considering that medical experts in public health policy focusing on maternal and child health were very few, if there were any.
In addition, the problem related to mental illness (ex. dementia, depression) in mothers, parents and elderly individuals was not being addressed. Subic is a coastal town facing the West Philippine Sea. Recent climatic changes brought about by flooding and destructive storms from monsoon rains have affected the community regularly. With each season of extreme weather events, there is a need to mitigate and create resilient communities, particularly in vulnerable populations (children, mother, elderly). Although the identified solution required is hiring of medical specialists, however, it was difficult to attract and hire the right people to address this gap due to identified problems (salary, advancement options, infrastructure, etc.).
There were also large populations of indigenous people (Aeta) living in geographically isolated areas who were disenfranchised with little or no equity invested in the health care systems in Zambales. Furthermore, the result of limited funding opportunities to cover healthcare and educational costs led to the Calapandayan program initiative.
Solution and Impact
The program has spearheaded a campaign (2016-2019) by organizing educational workshops and seminars intended to address stigmatization and create school-centered awareness for mothers and teachers involved in the care of child learning and behavioral disabilities. To address sustainability, the program has led to private-public partnerships (Zambales Community Based Rehabilitation, Abbott Pharmaceutical, Brown & Burke Corporation, EVER Pharma) as a provider of technical assistance and resource donation, along with medicine procurement and education/training. Over 500+ children have benefitted, which includes other surrounding municipalities (8 more) in Zambales province.
This initiative took the form of a health policy initiative by addressing health unit governance, human resource development, access to healthcare, sustainability, and information-driven data gathering. In closely managing the health unit, the program initiative was advocated and later used as a tool to address the mentioned issues. For instance, before the Calapandayan Program Initiative, most rural health units are firmly attached to the municipal health unit for guidance and support. Currently, the rural unit has its own public health physician specialists. Another problem solved was the issue of sustainability. To address this, public-private partnerships have been advanced by collaborating closely with key decision makers and community business stakeholders. An example of this would be the clinical assessments done at different communities in Subic, which require expensive equipment, employee salary, and logistics. Much of the expenditures were partly funded through socially responsible business collaboration.
The sustainability of human resources was also achieved through training and attendance at seminars of various community liaisons and advocates who were given certificates of completion after earning their competencies through education. The project’s overall impact has led to an increase in the awareness of neurodevelopmental problems in children not only through removing the stigma but increase in the cost-effective interventions in school and health units through close monitoring and follow-ups. In addition, management of these chronic conditions through constant and frequent follow-ups helped to reduce the burden of disease within the organized family and community.
In February 2020, a research team from the University of the Philippines-Manila conducted a pilot data gathering using a Virtual-Reality device to assess and measure students learning and behavioral disorders of students enrolled at Subic National High School. This event marked the 1st use of the device, which is currently awaiting a patent license. The device will help to address the health care gap in poor resource areas not only in Zambales but in other regions. This form of institutional collaboration will allow future sustainable development of health care needs in Subic.
The program was nominated for the American Public Health Association award in 2020 during the annual convention. They also assessed over 500 children, saving more than Php 1,000,000 in neurodevelopmental assessment alone (each neurodevelopment assessment is at least Php 2,500 in Manila). The program was a finalist for the grant application for Saving Brain Canada, a Canadian government-funded sponsorship. Although the Calapandayan program did not win the award, this resulted in the validation of the work’s attributes. Lastly, the data generated throughout the year led to a publication earlier this year (13. Samonte, FG., De Guzman, MT., Garcia, F., Molina, V., Gonzales, R. (2020). Using predictive modeling in determining the relationship of physical activity and mental health in older adults. International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, Vol. 24, Issue 09, 2020 ISSN: 1475-7192).