This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards
Unity in Diversity: Promoting a Culturally & Faith Sensitive Environment
Cotabato Regional and Medical Center
Best practice Focus Area(s)
Leadership, Strategic performance management, Human Resource
The Medical Social Workers of CRMC always aim to be of service to the people regardless of their culture, ethnicity, and faith by observing the principles of acceptance, individualization, and non-judgmental attitude with a belief that every human being has worth and dignity.
To give more emphasis on these principles and philosophy, staff of the Medical Social Work Department (MSWD) included activities promoting the advocacy of unity in diversity. The advocacy promoting unity in diversity that was initiated by the MSWD has been manifested in various activities. The advocacy was originally coined by MSWD in 2010 to address the need to provide quality services by the Medical Social Workers.
Background and Problem
The objectives in promoting unity in diversity lie from the belief that regardless of cultural beliefs and practices of each individual, people in Central Mindanao can live together with peace and harmony.
The Medical Social Work Department was able to identify activities considered as good practices in observing unity in diversity that amidst conflict and various cultural beliefs and practices, the tri-people in central Mindanao can live harmoniously. These activities emanate from the belief that diversity in culture is not a hindrance to attain peace and harmony but a bridge leading to peace and unity.
MSWD caters to individuals from different areas in Central Mindanao with different ethnicities and cultural practices. There are times when health providers have difficulty in understanding clients because the dialect or language spoken by clients is not understood by health providers resulting in a communication gap. To address this challenge, the Medical Social Work Department initiated the hiring of Social Workers from different ethnicities such as Teduray, T’boli, llonggo, Cebuano, Maranao, lranon, Maguindanaon, llocano, and Surigaonon.
Solution and Impact
The idea of promoting unity in diversity is based from the theory of Social Change in the organization and community, personal belief, convictions in life, religious and cultural affiliations, and practices are not hindrances to attain the desired goals of working together harmoniously but becomes an instrument of pooling together resources to achieve unity despite of diversities. The Theory of Hierarchy of Needs spelled out the need of human beings to have social contact, to establish relationships with others. Medical Social Work Department observance of Unity in Diversity is manifested in various activities of the Medical Social Work Department:
- The MSWD consists of a multilingual workforce who can speak two or more dialects
- Annual Food and Gift-giving activities during the month of Ramadan and Yuletide Season
- Established partnership and linkages with GOs, NGOs, LGUs including Barangay Officials and Tribal Leaders.
- Daily MSWD Quality Circle
- Keeping Records of Badjao Patients
- Provision of additional food and sanitary kits for indigent patients
The impact resulting from these activities are as follows:
- The ability of Medical Social Workers to speak the language of the patients and watchers resulted in a common understanding and easy way to deliver the needed services by the patients. Medical Social Workers at times are also invited or requested by Doctors and Ward Staff to become interpreters on their and client’s behalf.
- Patients and their watchers regardless of religious affiliations, whether they are Christians, Muslims, or Lumads, known as ”Tri-People” in Mindanao can participate and enjoy one of the world’s most celebrated events, Christmas and Ramadan. During the activity, they can participate without discrimination and conditions.
- There are plenty of patients belonging to Indigenous People (IPs) who are less fortunate members of society needing medical and non-medical needs. With the involvement of LGUs, through Local Social Workers, Barangay Officials, Barangay Health Workers, and even tribal leaders, other needs of patients and their families may be provided such as home visits and aftercare follow-up. Other NGOs provided other forms of assistance for the patients like non-medical needs of the patients such as sanitary kit, diapers for adults and babies, spiritual counseling, and Alliance for Improving Health Outcomes, Inc. Kalusugan ng Mag-ina (AIHO-KMI UNICEF) provided Health Education for Indigenous People in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat. These Indigenous People who are indigent members of the community oftentimes are not empowered to do things on their own without the help of others, with the help provided by AIHO-KMI UNICEF, they were educated on how to seek medical assistance where to go in case of illness, pregnancy, and delivery of babies. CRMC became part of the process of providing orientation to selected Manobo Youth how they can avail of health services from CRMC.
- Formation of a Daily Quality Circle as a form of stress debriefing and a time for reflection, daily prayers, singing, and endorsements before starting the day.
- Badjao oftentimes do not have a permanent address, no Birth Certificate, and frequently change name upon every admission at the hospital. To answer the need to easily access data of Badjao patients, a data filer was prepared where all Badjao patient’s names and other pertinent data are kept including their photos with name tags.
- Additional Food for the Watcher is provided for the patient’s watcher in addition to the food ration served by the Dietary Department for patients. The warder is responsible for identifying or validating ward patients. Records of Badjao patients and parents are kept in a separate file for easy access. Maneuvering/navigating them to the Pharmacy, Philhealth Claims, Billing Section & Records Section. The MSWD warder is responsible for identifying or validating the ward indigent patient and watchers needing food assistance. The request is then prepared by Warder, noted by Office Head or Senior Medical Social Worker, and duly coordinated with the Dietary Department.
- Medical Social Workers served as interpreters for doctors, watchers, and patients experiencing communication barriers.
- A total of 1,057 Indigenous People have availed of hospital services through the Medical Social Work Department in 2018. From January to June 2019, there were 807 Indigenous People catered by the Medical Social Workers who were provided various forms of assistance such as Enrolment to Point of Service, Medical Assistance Program Fund, Malasakit Assistance, cash & in-kind assistance.
- Strengthened “Referral Pathways”. Active involvement of LGUs, Barangay Officials, and Tribal Leaders.
- CRMC was awarded last 2018 as “People-Centered Hospital” among the DOH-Retained Hospital.
CRMC aims to sustain and enhance further its good practices.