Making Good Governance Work: From Healthy Mothers to a Healthy Community

By GELLOR, SARAH. Originally published on ABS-CBN News.

Starting as a maternal health program of Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, Merck-Sharp and Dome (MSD), Simulan Nating Gumawa-Stella Maria Della Strada (SINAG-SMDS), HL4M gave birth to local health councils for the barangays in the 3rd District of Quezon City. As Health Leaders for Mothers (HL4M) program wraps up, let us reminisce its journey and celebrate its success.

Going Beyond Disagreements in the PH

During the 2010 election campaign of RH advocate Congressman Bolet Banal of the 3rd district of Quezon City, he organized a dialogue on the Reproductive Health bill (now a law) with the community members of Sta. Maria Della Strada in Barangay Pansol, Quezon City. After two hours of debating, they ended up with no unified position on the RH Bill. On the positive side, both agreed to help pregnant mothers acquire maternal healthcare services.


To ease the financial burdens of 600 expectant moms, Congressman Bolet Banal and the Sta. Maria Della Strada community funded their PhilHealth enrolment. Sadly, only 17% of the enrolees utilized their PhilHealth services during their pregnancy. The challenge was to change the health-seeking behaviour of mothers.


HL4M: Empowering Health Leaders for Mothers

The basic premise of the three-year program that started in 2012 was to train barangay health workers on leadership and communication skills. Since they have the capacity to directly engage with moms, their role was to scout pregnant mothers and encourage them to undergo pre-natal checkups and give birth in facilities.


To develop their competencies, HL4M first focused on building their confidence, personal awareness, skills, attitude, competency and leadership. Afterwards, they were trained with the basics of maternal care.


Aside from the monetary compensation, they gained a sense of duty. For Araceli Quibete, a health volunteer from Barangay Old Balara, “malaking bagay ang makatulong at tumulong, lalo na sa mga baguhang maging nanay. Kaming mga volunteer health leader ay malaking tulong para sa aming komunidad…”To develop their competencies, HL4M first focused on building their confidence, personal awareness, skills, attitude, competency and leadership. Afterwards, they were trained with the basics of maternal care.


Behavioural Change of Mothers

Through the diligence of barangay health leaders, pregnant mothers were able to attend Buntis Tipanans and avail free check-ups, consultation, medicines as well as primers, kits and localized birth plans in preparation of their delivery. To monitor their pre-natal check-ups, they were given Buntis ID cards signed by health centers every check-up.


Through HL4M, a total of 18,554 women were profiled. 11,943 women were of reproductive age while 6,611 women were pregnant. From the total number of pregnant women profiled, 81% or 5,366 completed their prenatal checkups.


A 21-year-old mother who was 5 months pregnant expressed her appreciation for HL4M and the SINAG center: “The place is nice and spacious, and the BHW (barangay health workers) are very warm and accommodating… A plus to the Buntis Tipanan is that we get free vitamins too.”Through HL4M, a total of 18,554 women were profiled. 11,943 women were of reproductive age while 6,611 women were pregnant. From the total number of pregnant women profiled, 81% or 5,366 completed their prenatal checkups.


Change in System and Governance

One of HL4M’s notable accomplishments was the system of profiling and data integration with the 3rd District Health Office (DHO). Dr. Leticia De Guzman from DHO realized the importance of customer service through HL4M: “Hindi lang technical capacities ang tinuturo. Dapat pala attitude ang ituturo sa health leaders.”


HL4M also fostered the communication and coordination between barangay health workers and the District Health Office and paved the way for policy development. It also led to the recognition of the effectiveness in promoting health at the barangay level. To expand HL4M, the Barangay Health Management Council (BHMC) was conceptualized.


BHMC: Institutionalizing HL4M Gains through Governance

The Barangay Health Management Council is a barangay health governance committee that will identify, target, and promote programs to usher the barangay’s specific health needs, streamline data flow and simplify the referral system. It also saves funding by focusing the resources on the localities’ immediate needs.


Last July 3, 2014, a BHMC workshop was held with the barangay captains, health leaders and government officials where everyone agreed to the need for a BHMC. During the workshop, the 3rd District council and the city government expressed their support to the BHMC. In fact, Vice Mayor Joy informed the plan to include the BHMC as a part of the Seal of Good Housekeeping, stressing the importance of health governance in Quezon City: “At the end of the day our human resource is the most important asset of our city and we have to make sure that they are strong, productive and healthy.”


Today, there are three BHMCs in action through the barangay captains’ initiative of drafting a resolution, while others have shown interest in making one.


Public Participation in Health Development

Finally, HL4M showed how citizens can involve themselves to push for the health development at the grassroots level. Without the help of the Institute of Politics and Governance (IPG), the Ateneo Health Sciences Department, the University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration and Governance, the 3rd District Health Office, and the Offices of Congressman Bolet Banal, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, Councilor Daza, the barangays and the health leaders, HL4M would not have been a success.

Write a comment

Comments: 7
  • #1 (Sunday, 27 September 2015 22:02)

    There’s a new demographic embracing the benefits of massages: the athletic male.

    While professional athletes have long utilized massages as an effective performance aid, their use never seemed to trickle down to the everyday sporty guy. Yet, as recently reported in Men’s Fitness Magazine, massages are now being more commonly relied on in neighborhood gyms and in amateur sports.

    This growing viewpoint into the practical uses of massages has also warmed more and more men to the idea of massages in general, including for relaxation. More men, in fact, now receive gift certificates for spas than ever before, usually for professional massages. Hopefully the experience will open their minds to perhaps microdermabrasion or Guinot treatments.

    Massage for the athlete helps build flexibility, aids with sore muscles and can actually help boost immunity. As MensFitness reported, old injuries that haunt athletes can be significantly reduced through the proper pressure therapies. A professional applies the appropriate level of pressure to painful trigger points, signaling the brain to relax that area, which immediately begins helping with blood flow.

    Another extremely practical way in which massage helps the athlete and non-athlete alike is by stimulating white blood cell circulation, which boosts immunity but can also be used in a more targeted therapy. Lymphatic massage to certain nodes, for instance, can help direct the body’s own natural healing property to specific areas.

    Too many athletes only massage what they can themselves get their hands on, meaning they’re usually less likely to ask a workout buddy to lend a hand. This of course means some of their muscles receive the full benefits of massage, while others go entirely neglected. This appears to be changing however, as more team sports programs begin embracing the broader therapeutic benefits.

    Men’s Fitness recommends athletes target larger muscles which are used frequently in the individual’s workout routine, often the hamstrings and quads, They suggest 3 times a week as a minimum for massaging these muscles for those who work out regularly. Doing so has been shown to improve performance, endurance and even attitude.

    Beyond just the muscular logic of just how much massages can aid athletes physically, it’s impossible not to notice the other great benefits they offer beyond the ballpark. As athletes also attest, the ways in which a massage can rejuvenate mind and body can be profound.

    So perhaps then the lesson here is reversed. Those who have long enjoyed the calming, soothing aspects of a professional massage were simply overlooking the powerful physical advantages.

    Not likely - after all that’s the power of a good massage. Whether you come in for a sore back or just a mind-numbing schedule, you usually leave fully aware of both the physical and mental transformation it offers.

    Maybe jocks will embrace facials next.

  • #2

    cellmaxx (Thursday, 14 April 2016 09:13)


  • #3

    BSY Noni Black Hair Magic (Thursday, 14 April 2016 09:26)

    BSY Noni Black Hair Magic

  • #4

    Mie Lidi Geli (Thursday, 14 April 2016 09:37)

    Mie Lidi Geli

  • #5

    cellmaxx indonesia (Thursday, 14 April 2016 09:41)

    cellmaxx indonesia

  • #6

    cara mengobati telinga berair (Friday, 30 September 2016 06:03)

    success always for her blog, do not forget to visit our website :) thanks

  • #7

    Cara Mengatasi penyakit Gerd (Monday, 17 October 2016 02:55)