Courtesy of ARMM Regional Government
Root of ARMM health problems identified
Once of the most challenging reality in ARMM, aside from the very high maternal, under-five and infant mortality rates and the overwhelmingly poor state of health reflected on the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2008, is the lack of confidence to health workers, poor health seeking attitude and unresponsive population to various health programs. Of all possible reasons, it can be attributed on the lack of direct intervention in many difficult areas wherein specialized services are never offered, basically due to lack of specialist physicians serving the remote areas, lack of facilities, inadequate equipments, insufficient and overworked manpower, widespread poverty, geographic and security isolation of many communities, and the cost of intervention.
Outreach plan, reaching out activity.
ARMM’s DOH Secretary Sinolinding who is a practicing ophthalmologist proposed and spearheaded the “Kasama Mo si Sec (KMS) Project. A unique, perhaps the only one in the country that addresses the often neglected services that were long sought in many isolated and difficult areas. With a group of Physicians and Nurses, dared the rough seas of Tawi-tawi province just to reach out and serve the most isolated municipalities of the province, the Sibutu, South Ubian, Mapun and Turtle Islands (taganak). Armed with the marching orders of the Acting Regional Governor Ansaruddin Adiong to provide excellent services to the people of the region in response to President Aquino’s Universal Access to Health Care, physician volunteers from DOH-ARMM headed by Regional secretary Dr. Kadil Jojo Sinolinding in tandem with other volunteers headed by Tawi-tawi provincial Health officer Dr Sukarno Asri made the plan an reality.
A US Army paediatrician assigned to the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines helped out in the provision of pediatric care among the residents. He is being supported by Dr. Falmi Usman, Dr Oliver Lee, Dr. George Lee, and Dr. Uribe. They have served at least 550 cases, provided with complete lines of medicines.
Measles Rubella Eradication Campaign.
One of the major agenda in the outreach activity is the campaign for the total eradication of Measles Rubella in the region, a preventable disease that accounts to a significant number of outbreak in the country. In the recent months, only Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur reported to have sporadic cases minus the island provinces. Thanks to the concerted effort of all health workers of ARMM.
World class eye surgery in the middle of nowhere, even in the most unsuited situation? Yes. Not because of any fancy reason but of the pressing need. With a resounding demand to perform eye surgeries to many blind people, Ophthalmologists Dr. Jojo Sinolinding and Dr. Elizabeth Chin performed a total of 15 major eye surgeries mostly cataracts and 5 minor procedures.
Other Health Programs Implemented
One of the most popular services here is the Oplan Tuli’s free circumcision and Oplan Ngipin’s dental services that served close to four hundred residents. Oplan Bukol that addresses removal of cysts and unwanted growths in the body served well too. Safe Motherhood Karavan that provided services for birth spacing and other reproductive health concerns received a high demand for the intervention.