The ISLA MiMaRoPa serves as a communication tool for the region in response to the call for an effective, efficient

and equitable health systems through responsible information dissemination. As part of CHD IVB’s health information system, this newsletter shall keep local and international partners abreast with the health sector development in the islands, creating comprehensive health information exchanges.


Champion for Health in MIMAROPA

Ensure quality, effective, efficient and equitable healthcare across the region.

C - ompetence C - ommitment P - rofessionalism I - ntegrity T - eamwork

Anna Birtha Datinguinoo

Dr. Faith Alberto Dr. Fe Almirante Dr. Ma. Teresa Castillo Mr. Joselito Padua
Managing Editors

Ethyll Blanco, Contributing Editor; Ramonito Martin, Feature Editor; Dr. Elsa Alberto, Dr. Michael Enarbia, Leticia Vitto, Dr. Ruth Cervo, Dr. Ali Agama, Jhoanne Macam, Carmela Quitoriano, Ma. Teresa Rellesiva, Alejandre Mercado, Genoveva Viñas, Belen Itay, Agnes Palao (ONP), Rommel Howard Iway (Culion), Contributing Writers; Ricardo Malubag Jr., Layout Editor; Rouelyn Basbas, Omar Candelosa, Creative Staff; Felinda Balazon, Alicia Vargas, Karen Joyce Carreos, Secretariat. Director Gloria Balboa Lester Añonuevo


Director’s Message

Stewarding Health Sector Reform Agenda for Future Linkages
In the quest of knowledge and with a mission to empower health practitioners in their becoming excellent human resources in order to contribute meaningfully to the region and to the human society as well, the Center for Health Development Region IV B seeks to serve quality, effective and efficient health care services to the Filipinos. However, we never seem to put our efforts in writing in this greater domain of advancement of the human society. I am pleased that by now, we are opening our lines of communication through this first issue of ISLA MIMAROPA, the official newsletter of the region. We are delighted to share with you some of our thoughts and passions about the practice of public health. We also hope to hear what motivates you in your practice, your aims and achievements in our linkages towards a better health care system. By articulating and sharing our aspirations, we can build a stronger community of public health practitioners and leaders. There have since been many changes and new developments in our public health system. Clearly, we cannot present less than a decade of news in the first issue, but we will attempt to give you a flavor of the exciting developments in CHD. We are highly interested in your progress. This newsletter seeks to bring us together so we can learn of our successes and how to improve our programs. We consider our partners to be a very important part and parcel of the agency in its journey towards excellence and eagerly look forward to your valued feedback and suggestions. We strongly believe in our human values and our commitment to the Nation and human society’s health. Accordingly, our processes are based on motivating factors, discipline in relaxed natural ambience and we have created a secured, congenial and serene environment for our engagement. And we are only in the process of further development.

Gloria J. Balboa, MD, MPH, MHA, CEO VI, CESO III
Director IV

Editor-in-Chief’s Message

Early part of 2009 Isla MiMaRoPa was just a reverie. With so much good things going with us there was a feeling of fancy to come up with a newsletter to reveal our transformation into a dynamic (as we say) region six years after our birth as the newest region. Then again we were not able to produce one last year. But by God’s grace and guidance from the right people, you are now holding the first issue of Isla MiMaRoPa, the Official Newsletter of Center for Health Development IV-B. Our directions are clearly to bare the various exciting health events and initiatives which we humbly considered distinctive of our region. For this first issue we bring you interesting happenings, good practices and rousing encounters for your reading pleasure. Much appreciation and gratitude goes to the efforts of the contributors of the articles. And as we go on board this new challenge of writing which commenced this Year of the Tiger, we too shall be fleet and astute. Our purpose is draw attention not only to the goings-on of the CHD but also the stirring and amusing stories from the islands. We at Isla MiMaRoPa has started and will continue to disclose our chronicles and triumphs, cautiously investing our efforts to what we believe will update you and simultaneously encourage all of us. In behalf of the team behind this newsletter, I furnish you with our first issue. Pleasant reading!

Anna Birtha I. Datinguinoo, RN

Editor-in-Chief OIC, Local Health Assistance Division 3

ISSUE I Volume 1 2010

The Official Newsletter of the Center for Health Development Region IV B (MIMAROPA)

CHD commences 1st Reg’l Recognition Rites
recognizing the best performing LGUs through score cards
TO BOLSTER EFFORTS IN REGIONALIZING F1 FOR HEALTH, the Center for Health Development through the Local Health Assistance Division recognized various local government units’ performance in the 1st Regional Recognition Rites for Performing LGUs last February 17 at Imperial Palace Suites in Quezon City.
DOH Undersecretary Alexander Padilla graced the event as guest of honor. He emphasized that partners in health reform has their own respective roles to perform and CHD, as the central catalyst, should coordinate the direction towards being champions for health in the entire MIMAROPA region. Through the results of the LGU Report Cards in 2008, the winning Inter Local Health Zones (ILHZ) were given plaques of recognition and incentive packages amounting to P30,000 for each member municipality and P75,000 for the core referral hospital. Among the winners are SaMaRiCa ILHZ and San Jose District Hospital, MAPSSa ILHZ and Occidental Mindoro Provincial Hospital, South IHLZ, Oriental Mindoro and Roxas District Hospital, Central IHLZ, Oriental Mindoro and Pinamalayan Community Hospital, District I IHLZ and Dr. Damian Reyes Memorial Hospital in Marinduque, Southern Tablas IHLZ and Don Modesto Formilleza Sr. Memorial Hospital, Zone 3 ILHZ and Taytay District Hospital and Puerto Princesa ILHZ. The event also acknowledged three Exemplary Practices identified by the Department of Health namely C-cares of Corcuera, Romblon, Voluntary Brigade for Malaria Case Finding in Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro and No Philhealth, No Business Permit in Puerto Princesa City. The two RHUs received plaques of recognition and incentive packages amounting to P100,000. On the other hand, St. Martin’s Mission Hospital in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro received P25,000 cash and P75,000 worth of hospital equipment as the recipient of the Center for Wellness Award. The event was attended by partner agencies and individuals from PTAHC, QMMC, PBC, NNC, PopCom, DOLE, PhilHealth, LRIC and other institutions.

GROWING STRONG IN THE REGION. CHD Regional Director Gloria Balboa congratulates best performing LGUs with Undersecretary Alexander Padilla and OIC Assistant Regional Director Faith Alberto. Director Balboa explains to Usec Padilla how the department built strong ties among its partner agencies in the 1st Regional Recognition Rites in Imperial Palace Suites, Feb. 17.

Zhen de shou fat loss capsules and tea barred
Enforcing the Food and Drugs Administration’s recall, ban or seizure of Zhen de Shou Fat Loss Capsule and Tea as from public sale and distribution, the Food and Drugs Regulatory officers confiscated the several products being sold in beauty establishments, drugstores, convenient stores, groceries and other outlets in Oriental Mindoro and Palawan. FDA’s findings through laboratory examinations revealed that numerous samples of Zhen de Shou Fat loss capsules contain amphetamine which is a prohibited substance, sibutramine, an active ingredient of prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction and sildenafil, on the other hand for weight loss. According to FDA, these substances are imminently injurious

Slimming pills banned in MIMAROPA

What’s Inside
St. Martin’s Missionary Hospital: A Sanctuary of Grace and Healing
page 12

The Rewards of Serving in the Barrios: My Agutaya Experience
page 17

and dangerous and products containing any such ingredients, sold liberally in the market without FDA’s approval, pose impending danger to the public. Regional Pharmicist Shirley Taan informed the public in Oriental Mindoro via local television interview. Local police also assisted the regulatory officers in their inspection in the province. Meanwhile, there were no banned products apparently being sold to the provinces of Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro and Romblon. Continuous monitoring of possible outlets are being conducted regionwide in reference to Department Circular 2009-0277 declaring the outright seizure of the expelled products.



‘AH1N1 vaccines for Frontline Health Workers’ - Sec. Cabral
“Our frontline health workers are at higher risk for getting the disease than ordinary people due to their larger probability of exposure. In addition, they may also transmit the infection to other patients, as well as their families and co-workers, so it is appropriate that they be given priority now that the vaccines are ready for deployment”, Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral said. As the vaccine for A H1N1 were made available, the Center for Health Development IV-B launched the vaccination program last April 26, at Ardent Hotel, Puerto Princesa City where around 80 Frontline Health Workers/Firstline responders were considered as the first recipients of the vaccine. The Frontline Health Workers or First-line Responders came from the Provincial Health Office of Palawan, City Health Office of Puerto Princesa and Ospital ng Palawan. During the talk of Director Gloria J. Balboa, she emphasized the importance of the vaccine and encouraged that all frontline health workers must submit themselves for vaccination as to protect their selves

THREE HEADS OF AGENCIES, THREE VACCINE SHOTS. (From Left to Right) Dr. Glorifino Juan of Ospital ng Palawan, Dr. Eduardo Cruz of the Provincial Health Office, Dr. Juancho Monserate of Puerto Princesa City Health Office got shots of the first A(H1N1) vaccines during the simultaneous launching of A (H1N1) campaign of the Department of Health in Puerto Prinsesa City, Palawan, April 26.

against the pandemic A H1N1. Dr. Teresa Castillo also advised the frequent washing of hands with soap and water, proper hygiene and other measures including covering nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, avoiding close contact with sick people and increasing body’s resistance by sleeping at least eight hours of sleep, being

physically active, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food to prevent the spread of the virus. The ceremony ended as all of the health workers who attended received their shots of Pandemic AH1N1 Vaccine. The influenza (swine flu) outbreak back in 2009 posed a threat to almost all nations with the fast

spreading from person-to-person, in much the same way that the regular seasonal influenza viruses spread with signs and symptoms of fever, headache, fatigue, lack of appetite, runny nose, sore throat and cough. The agency has doubled its efforts in dealing with the novel virus A(H1N1) especially in thorough contact tracing and slowing down the spread of the virus.

Buntis Baby Bank featured for boosting maternal health care and child health in Cajidiocan, Romblon
In the quest of solving maternal and infant mortality problems in the remote islands of MIMAROPA, a novel initiative in Romblon was featured by several media outfits including Malaya and Inquirer, for its contribution in the health sector reform agenda. Buntis Baby Bank, a pet project of Dr. Heide Exconde Municipal Health Officer of Cajidiocan, Sibuyan Island in Romblon, helped women cope with the cost of prenatal checkups, facility-based deliveries and other medical needs, even in remote barangays by filling up piggy banks. In the article in Malaya, Dr. Exconde explains that “the mechanics are simple. Mothers who go to rural health units are assigned piggy banks where they “drop” whatever amount they can afford every time they visit. Relatives, friends, and local officials are encouraged to similarly make “drops” to help the mother. “Withdrawals” from the piggy bank can be made by the mother when she avails of proper facilities, discouraging deliveries at home.” Meanwhile in the Inquirer article, Exconde shares that to date, 12 pregnant women have each been given a piggy bank, while six mothers have availed themselves of their savings. Exconde says the number of pregnant women who go for prenatal checkups has increased from 18 to 27 percent, while the number of facility-based birthing has gone up from 83 to 92 percent since the program’s launching.

THUMBS UP. A pregnant health worker showing thumbs up after receiving a single shot of the AH1N1 vaccine.


CHD IVB finetunes international efforts in combating Malaria


Working Together to Count Malaria Out starts in Iwahig Penal Colony
This year’s World Malaria Day celebration is an opportunity for the region once again to put emphasis on the important work that is all about saving lives and stopping malaria now and attaining the Millennium Development Goal by 2015 of counting malaria out. Through rapidly delivering malaria interventions – preventive nets, diagnostic tests, anti-malarial drugs and indoor spraying – to all people at risk and pave way to virtually ending deaths due to malaria by 2015, the international community thrives to pull its act together in their efforts. Dubbed “Working Together to Count Malaria Out,” the Center for Health Development IV-B in collaboration with the Provincial Health Office of Palawan, City Health Office of Puerto Princesa City, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. and the Kilusan Ligtas Malaria commemorates World Malaria Day 2010 at Iwahig Penal Farm Colony in Puerto Princesa City last April 25. World Malaria Day 2010 marks a critical moment in time as the international malaria community has less than a year to meet the 2010 targets of delivering effective and affordable protection and treatment to all people at risk of malaria. Effective low-cost tools exist to prevent and treat the disease and new and improved tools are currently being developed and tested and a global action plan has been put forth to guide a coordinated international effort to control, eliminate and eventually eradicate malaria. According to Dr. Mario Baquilod, National Malaria Coordinator, the Department of Health is exerting efforts to put under total control the spread of malaria infection through mapping out a 5-year strategic plan. The strategic plan is to distribute mosquito nets in all parts of the country, start extensive pubic awareness raising campaign through the collaboration of all government institutions and partners, and train health professionals. The celebration was joined by the In-mates of minimum security of Iwahig Penal Farm Colony. A thanksgiving mass was conducted and officiated by Rev. Fr. Jose Ruel Tuale. Inmates and children of employees presented songs and dance number during the celebration. Present in the event were Director Gloria J. Balboa, Dr. Mario Baquilod, National Malaria Coordinator and heads of other partner agencies represented by Dr. Eduardo Cruz, Dr. Juancho Monserate, and others.

(UPPER Photo) HOW TO. Mr. Oscar Macam, Jr., Malaria Program Coordinator explained to Director Gloria J. Balboa the procedure on how to impregnate the mosquito nets. (LOWER Photo) BLOOD SMEARING FOR INMATES. One of the Iwahig Penal Colony Farm Inmates was taken blood sample as a procedure to detect malaria during the celebration of the World Malaria Day.

CHD IV B sustains the Botika ng Barangay in the regional office
With three years of existence, the Center for Health Development’s Empolyees Association successfully sustains the Botika ng Barangay in the regional office located at Quirino Memorial Medical Center Compound, Project 4, Quezon City. The BnB was petitioned by the union and started its operations on September 2007 and is currently maintaining regular stipend for two BnB operators, providing financial assistance in the form of gasoline and other traveling expenses for union members, snacks for the First Friday mass of the agency, fiscal assistance during agency activities such as anniversaries and holiday celebrations and assisting its members in their medical needs. The history of BnB operations in the region in 2004 in Oriental Mindoro as one of the pilot areas. The first orientation for BnB operators was conducted in Bongabong and upon completion of the minimum BnB documentary requirements, 15 barangays were awarded with P25,000 worth of drugs of medicines. Existing BnBs in the region were acknowledged by the central office for their outstanding performance and maintenance. Some of these BnBs were BnB in Labasan, Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro and BnB Villapagasa, Bansud, Oriental Mindoro.




Marinduque launches Healthy Lifestyle to the Max campaign
Repackaged Healthy Lifestyle Advocacy campaign dubbed “HL to the Max” was launched in Torrijos, Marinduque in correspondence to promoting consciousness on the risk factors that cause noncommunicable diseases last February 23. The event was attended by the local chief executives headed by Mayor Gil Briones together with Vice-Governor Pizzaro who ensured his support to the “HL to the Max” campaign. The campaign pushes for the practice of the Seven Healthy Lifestyle Habits particularly, no smoking, no drinking alcohol, no to illegal drugs, eating low-fat, low-salt and high-fiber diet, preventing hypertension, doing physical activities and managing stress. Several activities such as health parade, “Hataw” exercise, lectures, discussion, risk assessment through blood pressure taking, urinalysis and glucose test, body mass index (BMI) and presentation of the final draft of the local ordinance on tobacco highlighted the campaign.

TESTING URINE SAMPLES. In the attempt to detect renal diseases, the Health Operation Services, through the Renal Disease Control Program tested urine samples from all CHD personnel in QMMC Compound, March 29.

Mainstreaming youth recipients in health programs

BROWSING ALL EXISTING RECORDS. The Regulations, Licensing and Enforcement Division team, headed by Dr. Carol Macabeo, reviews all the records in RTN Foundation Inc. Hospital in Bataraza, Palawan, March 2.

CHD IV B runs digital rectal exam orientation for prostate cancer
In connection with the celebration of Cancer Consciousness week and with the increasing incidence of prostate cancer, CHD IV B through the Health Operations Division conducted recently an orientation on prostate cancer for all its personnel and digital rectal examination (DRE) for all 40 years old and above male personnel. Dr. Eufemio Macalalad, Medical Specialist II of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center headed the team in DRE together with Dr. Maria Charina Tuazon and Dr. Michael Gatmaitan of the same institution.

National Youth Commission through the various agencies of the government composing the Regional Advisory Committee, pushes for the implementation of Executive Order No. 788 in promoting a Youth National Service in addressing the economic struggles of the common Filipino youth. Stipulated in the executive order is the composition of the National Service Corps under NYC for education and community service programs and the Youth Conservation Corps to be supervised by the Philippine National Police for infrastructure and environmental concerns. The Executive Order was signed two years ago, yet several departments were only compliant to the order despite the absence of Implenting Rules and Regulations. Lester Anonuevo, planning officer

Regional Advisory Committee meet; concurs a Youth National Service

of CHD IVB suggested that in the absence of the YNS, government services should mainstream youth members as recipients of respective programs, first before organizing and extending it as an independent program of RAC and NYC. NYC Assistant Secretary Christopher Arnuco suggested to organize a master list of programs catered to the youth from the members of the committee. The council meeting was attended by Director Josefino Torres, DOLE, Ma. Teresita Iglesia, DILG, Priscila Contreras, DSWD, Jean Min Ladia, DENR, Hermelina Ricafort, DBM, Rosalina Reyes and Ma. Emelia Cinco, TESDA. Baibonn Sangid, Marla Clemente and Jose Cielos, National Youth Commission.

The campaign was highlighted by the open forum where several issues were resolved including that all who were aged 40 and above should undergo digital rectal exam and prostate specific antigen, confidentiality clauses, where Dr. Macalalad provided two perspectives that should be followed. First, according to Dr. Macalalad, on the patient’s perspective or those who would not want to disclose it to their relatives and second, on the relative’s perspective that there are those who would not want the patient to know that a person has cancer, and the issuance of a memorandum ordering all target clients to comply with the screening.

VALIDATING TARGET CLIENT LIST. Genoveva Viñas of CHD IVB verifies data written in the reporting forms in one of the district health offices in Ormoc.


Monitoring team inspects Oriental Mindoro and Palawan


HOD steps up integrated monitoring on MCH
The Health Operations Division through the Maternal and Child Health Care cluster performed an integrated monitoring on Maternal, Family Planning and Child Care program in Oriental Mindoro and monitored municipalities of Puerto Galera, San Teodoro, Bulalacao, Mansalay, Roxas and Bongabong to validate Maternal Newborn Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) indicators and assessment of Contraceptive Self Reliance (CSR) implementation last February 16-19. With the phase out of foreign donated family planning (FP) supplies in 2006, the province continued to purchase FP supplies from the capitation fund for distribution to different municipalities. Only the municipality of Bulalacao Rural Health Unit purchased FP supplies while the others have no budget in their respective FP programs from 2006 up to 2009. All MNCHN indicators are far better compared to the

targets. Other findings showed that all municipalities visited have updated master list for Maternal and Child Health Care program with FP based on their target client list and organized women’s health team in every barangay to track pregnancy. Consecutively, the monitoring team composed of Rachael Paladan and Dr. Peter Hew Curameng of the Provincial Health Team Office and Perla Supnet and Cynthia del Rio from the CHD, monitored municipalities of San Vicente, Taytay, El Nido and Roxas in Northern Palawan. All municipalities visited excluding Taytay, since their RHU collapsed due to a landslide, were compliant with the updated master list for Prenatal, Postnatal, FP and EPI programs. In the data presented, home deliveries were still with the highest percentage of accomplishment in farflung areas attended by traditional birth attendants. In view of this, the cluster intends to do advocacy and massive information dissemination regarding facility-based deliveries in various barangays, orientation to women’s health team to track down pregnancy efficiently.

EFHSIS ON THE ROLL. Ricardo Malubag of CHD IVB teaches the rudiments of the Electronic Field Health Service Information System to the Assistant City Health Officer of Ormoc City Health Office, February 22-26.

LHAD strengthens BusCoCulin Inter Local Health zone
To strengthen the collaboration between local government units and Center for Health Development, CHD IV B headed to BusCoCuLin (Busuanga, Coron, Culion and Linopacan) area in monitoring health activities and at the same time attended the BCCL Barangay Health Workers’ Summit last February 4-7. Daluyon 2010, the native language of Linapacan, meaning waves, was attended by barangay health workers of the four municipalities. Several discussions including climate change and emerging and re-emerging diseases were among the issues resolved in the event. Regional Director Gloria Balboa graced the event and had a conversation with Congressman Antonio Alvarez of

the 1st District of Palawan. The team distributed medicines and hospital supplies to four rural health units including two hospitals in the area. Consequently, a consultative meeting was also held between the officials and employees of Culion Sanitarium and the CHD staff to better understand its relationship and deepen its working dynamics. The team was composed by Regional Director Gloria Balboa with OIC-LHAD Chief Anna Birtha Datinguinoo, Dr. Joselito Awat, Dr. Ali Salvador Agama, Ma. Teresa Du, Ethyll Blanco, Donna Padua, Alejandre Mercado and Rommel Howard Iway.

Engineers, Architects from LGU review civil work plans through workshop
Municipal and provincial engineers and architects from MIMAROPA region convened in Robbinsdale Residences, Quezon City for a workshop on the review of civil work plans for Health Facility Enhancement Program headed by the Regulations, Licensing and Enhancement Division last February 9-11. Dr. Fe Almirante, OIC-chief of the RLE Division together with Engr. Benedict Allago, Engr. Arvy Tiglao, Arch. Ferdinand Laverinto of DOHNCHFD, Teresa Rellesiva, legal officer Elizabeth Guilalas, accountant and other members of the division facilitated the workshop tackling procurement activities relative to the election ban period and standard requirements for the approval of civil works. Issues to the content of memorandum of agreement and fund release, deadlines to the implementation of the project were also discussed. All the participants were able to submit their respective floor plans, duly approved by Engr. Allago and Arch. Laverinto.

PERSONNEL WITH A CAUSE. CHD IV B personnel spends time to donate blood in the quarterly blood donation drive spearheaded by the Local Health Assistance Division in partnership with the Quirino Memorial Medical Center.




The Secondary (Level II) and the end referral government hospital in mainland Palawan, Ospital ng Palawan, is currently undergoing a rapid facelift in terms of infrastructure. With an authorized bed capacity of 100, but with an actual implementing bed of 150, the hospital despite financial constraints, exerts all efforts in upgrading its services and facilities. The Ospital ng Palawan presently offers the residents of Palawan various services including clinical laboratory procedures, radiologic, ultrasonographic and dental services, major and minor surgeries, consultations, medical treatment of diseases, maternal, child care and orthopedic services.

Ospital ng Palawan and its changes










St. Martin’s Mission Hospital:
Inspired by the Dominican Passion for Truth and Compassion for Humanity coupled with the determined invitation of then Bishop Vicente Manuel, SVD, DD of the Vicariate of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena committed to itself to share the mission of the Vicariate specifically in the healthcare ministry. Mission usually refers to the missionary ventures of the Church and how she responds to the particular needs and situation of people. These marked the beginning of St. Martin’s Mission Hospital as a mission outreach center in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro on November 03, 1993, the feast of St. Martin de Porres. From a simple mission center, the institution has emerged to be a primary hospital catering to the preventive and therapeutic health care needs of the people of the locality. It has delivered culturally sensitive health care program following the conditions of the 12

A Sanctuary of Grace and Healing
people it serves. The physicians, nurses and its paramedical staff are known to be serviceoriented smiling people and caring professionals. In its simplicity the hospital has been known to deliver quality health care services to the people of Sablayan and its neighboring towns. During the early years of this 21st century, the hospital went through its grim and dark moments of uncertainty and struggle for survival. As in any mission venture and considering that it was a private, non-stock, non-profit hospital, it went through difficult times – financial constraints, licensing requirements, maintenance and upkeep of the hospital and many others. To financially survive on this mission of healing is an expensive sacrifice but the Congregation went on its act of mission. In the year 2004, the hospital had to undergo major reorganization, a review of its vision-mission and strategic planning coupled with the Congregation’s support through subsidy. Furthermore, sisters in their golden years assigned in the hospital spent precious time in prayers in private and with the staff. On the latter part of the year, the hospital was finally granted its license to operate by the Department of Health Region IV-B. Renovation of the hospital which was described as a major facelift was made possible through foreign funding. Training of staff as well as regular meetings and brainstorming were done to revive in the staff their sense of commitment and dedication for the healthcare apostolate. The value of service and mission was awakened in the hearts of the staff, at the same time, maintaining their professionalism and efficiency. The Sisters spearheaded in encouraging the staff to give their best as this might be their only chance to serve in a mission area. Slowly but surely, the different ancillary services of the hospital were also organized, licensed and accredited.

Sr. Mary Fe G. Encarnacion, OP

Year 2009 has been a time of grace and blessings, St. Martin’s Mission Hospital was awarded as the 2009 Center for Wellness by CHD Region IV B MIMAROPA and it was also chosen for community service award “The Communio Award” by the SVD Mission Awards. Doing mission work at St. Martin’s Mission Hospital is both a privilege and a responsibility. There is a call to go beyond awards and citations. There is a call that, just as God has blessed us, so may we be a blessing to others, too. This is service to life in a very special way; a call to go on caring even when cure is no longer possible; a call to go on serving even if resources are very scarce. It is a call to go on believing that God ill take care of His people and that He cannot be outdone in generosity. We are awarded “not for what we have done but because of who God is; not for who we are but for what God has done for us.”



Ricardo P. Malubag Jr.

“Christ himself carried our sins in His body to the Cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed.” This verse from the Holy Bible (1 Peter 2:24) was indeed very timely because 1st week of April, we had our Lenten season which we commemorated the Passion of Christ. Because of God’s love to us, He was crucified, suffered and died at the Cross. Even if the Holy week had already passed, we need to reflect. If we have done something wrong to someone, it could be your friend, colleague, family, loved one, etc. say sorry to the person. On the other hand, if somebody has done you wrong, especially if the person is very hard for her/him to say sorry, then, as true Christian, show him your love to the person just as Jesus did for us. Moreover, the word “Christian,” the name of Christ is clearly seen in the word. We carry the name of our Creator. If you forgive others the wrings they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrings you have done.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
Alicia Vargas

AUTORUN.INF Viruses are virus that uses the Autorun feature of Windows to spread itself on computers. This virus makes a copy of the autorun.inf file to the root or main directory of all the drives on your PC, internal and/or external disks, to make the virus run every time the external disks like pendrives or USB drives were inserted or every time you double-click the drives through the Windows Explorer. Known virus variants of this kind are the YahLover (which uses scvhost.exe and killer.exe), Bacalid (which uses ctfmon.exe), IMGKULOT and FAIZAL.JS virus. Prevention of Autorun.INF Virus When you plug an external drive or a pen drive and an Autoplay dialog box appears on your desktop, click on the Cancel button. When you open an external or a pen drive from a window, use the right button of your mouse over the removable drive icon and then click Open. This will prevent the Autorun.Inf to execute the script or command. You can disable the AUTORUN feature of Windows by applying a registry modification on the Windows’ Registry Editor. To do this: • Download: DISABLE-AUTORUN.REG from this web link: and save this file on your computer. After downloading the file, open the folder where you download it and double-click the file. You will be confirmed by Registry Editor if you want to proceed, just click Yes button to continue. (If a different message was seen such as “Registry Editing has been disabled by your administrator.” possibly your PC is infected already by a virus that prevents registry access. To correct this you have to remove the Autorun.INF virus manually.) Restart your computer to apply these changes.

Ramonito Martin
Uy SisipAt!
Grabe! Sakto ka na naman, ang haba talaga ng PAA mo, SISIPIT!

SOBRA ka naman magsalita. Lahat na lang, nakikita mo!







From a Leper’s Colony to a General Hospital

A Parallel Mandate - A Coexistence of Diverse Functions Dr. Arturo Cunanan, Jr.

In the early 1900’s with the Americans colonization, there was a fairly high incidence of leprosy in the Philippines and it was decided that all lepers would be segregated and sent off to isolation in one of several locations across the country. One leper “colony,” a term which sounds really horrible, but was a fact of life then, was in what is now Naga, Cebu, another was in Manila and a third was established and located on the “Island of No Return,” or Culion Island in Northern Palawan in 1906. Not too much was understood about leprosy at the time but fear of contagion meant that they separated all those already afflicted especially that it was thought then that it was not a curable disease. At its peak, the Culion “facility” was home to over 5,000 lepers. Families often moved to Culion to be close to one patient, a spouse and children would move to the island to care for the sick spouse for instance and eventually a town formed though it was only recognized as a distinct municipality just a dozen or so years ago.




The Way Forward The elimination of leprosy as a public health problem in 1998 marked another era in Culion’s history but posted also another concern of looking into the relevance of the sanitaria under low endemic situation, the role of the Department of Health in taking care of the remaining patients inside the sanitarium of which the primary reason is social welfare, or looking into their basic daily needs and where public health is secondary. The decreasing ratio between the number of health workers to patients in the sanitarium and the decreasing number of new cases detected, aroused new challenges on how to make sanitarium manpower efficient vis a vis number of cases attended. With all these concerns, all sanitaria were hereby directed to pursue a conversion or succession program to justify its existence and transform the sanitarium to cater the general health needs of the population. The main issue now is how to make use of the existing hospital facilities to address the growing health needs and demands of the general population in the area and to consider the budgets being provided to the sanitarium. By necessity and for the survival of the sanitarium particularly the health staff that would be displaced, Culion Sanitarum must undergo a metamorphosis to become a general hospital aside from functioning solely as a leprosy sanitarium.

The new policy for all DOH retained hospitals including the sanitaria now functioning as a general hospital to have the capacity to generate hospital income or revenue through a socialized scheme of billing and classification and the capability to utilize such revenue for the hospital operation is a very much welcome development and relief for government hospitals. However, this is a big challenge to Culion, where the geographic location was basically away from the populous areas due to the isolation and segregation policy of leprosy and generally the catchment’s population are the poor populace who would fall on the indigent status, thus limiting the earning capacity of the sanitarium. In addition to that, the continued uncertainty of what to do with the remaining patients which for some policy makers would for humanitarian reasons continue taking care till the last “Mohicans” in as much as the law had violated their human rights when they were compulsorily segregated to stay in the colony, while others would look into hospital efficiency, effectiveness, performance and budgets and recommended the transfer of these remaining patients into one institution where they will live till they fade away. The remaining residents in Culion have aired their dismay and resistance of such transfer, Culion has

been their h o m e , they were uprooted and separated and segregated to this island before and never again should they be moved and transferred now that they are old. The future of the sanitaria in the Philippines like Culion Sanitarium is indeed on the hands of the policy makers, to legislate a law that will provide an added mandate for the sanitaria to become a general hospital. After 12 years lobbying in congress, Republic Act 9790, “an act converting the Culion Sanitarium in the Municipality of Culion province of Palawan into the Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital and appropriating funds therefore” was approved last November 19, 2009. This new mandate has now made official the longtime function of Culion Sanitarium as a general hospital on top of it being a sanitarium catering to the health needs of the island municipalities of Culion, Coron, Busuanga and Linapacan up to El Nido, Taytay and Cuyo, establishing itself as the end referral hospital in Northern Palawan and the core referral hospital of BCCL (Busuanga Culion Coron Linapacan) Inter Local Health Zone. Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital has also a functioning public health unit, implementing DOH thrusts and programs supporting RHU in the BusCuCoLin

Inter local Health zone while at the same time taking care of the remaining people affected by leprosy through custodial care and acting as leprosy referral hospital in the province of Palawan and the region validating diagnosis, managing complications and training. Paradise Regained The success of the leprosy program is not only measured by the statistics on prevalence nor in case detection rates, but the true success of elimination even eradication of leprosy lies on how individuals, agency and society would address and take care of the remaining people affected by leprosy who had the disease long before the advent of effective drugs (MDT) and had experienced the isolation and segregation and lived long to know and experience the curability of the disease and the complete and sustained transformation of the sanitaria and the community as a whole. Today Culion is now the newest municipality in the province of Palawan, a community that evolved from the initial segregated patients, an offshoot of the success of the leprosy control program, of eliminating leprosy as a public health problem in the once hyper endemic Culion Island. The dedicated and committed efforts of the DOH-Culion Sanitarium have bear fruit and witness in making this once “Island of the Living Dead” into a “Paradise Regained.”




Buntis Baby Bank


Dr.Heidee B. Exconde

Such is the constant threat facing our mothers in their every pregnancy. The municipality of Cajidiocan is one of the communities that have struggled with its maternal and child health outcome. Poor health-seeking behavior has led to some mothers with no or insufficient prenatal care preventing them to receive the proper care and counseling as well as the vitamin supplementation they need. The first 2 quarters of 2009 revealed that only 18% of pregnant women sought and has been given quality prenatal care with at least 4 prenatal check-ups. Home deliveries attended by non-trained health professionals have been a perennial problem. These challenges led to two maternal mortalities last 2008 and early 2009. The problem looms bigger as the poor financial status of majority of the mothers contributed to poor referrals to health units and hospitals since the lack of funds could not pay for the health services especially in the hospitals. These distressing challenges led to the birth of the Buntis Baby Bank Project. The Buntis Baby Bank project, adopted from the project of the same name of Dr. Chua of Milagros, Masbate, aims to achieve better maternal health outcomes by encouraging mothers to avail of complete and quality maternal care thru pre-natal checkups as well as facilitate post-natal visits. It also contributes in the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality by ensuring facility-based deliveries supervised by trained health professionals. Equitable health care financing is also achieved thru assisting the mothers in preparing financially for their delivery. The project was initiated as a result of focus group discussions, headed by the MHO, with all Women’s Health Teams of all barangays. The project functions by assigning a “baby bank” made up of bamboo to all pregnant mothers seeking prenatal care at the RHU. The baby bank is placed in a highly visible area in the RHU, allowing the mothers and other people to drop any amount anytime, resulting to accumulated savings until their delivery date. A BBB project coordinator or caretaker (nurse, midwife, BHW) constantly reminds the mothers to drop to their banks. The banking system can also include the mothers’ relatives, RHU staff, LGU officials or any person willing to drop any amount to the bank. The savings accumulated will be used when the mother reaches her delivery date with the extra savings to be used postpartum, for the care of the baby, or even to assist the mother avail of the family planning method of her choice (i.e. pills, ligation). Assignment of a baby bank is done during the mother’s 1st prenatal check-up during her 1st trimester. Mothers consulting during her late 2nd trimester and 3rd trimester will not be assigned a baby bank. Thus this agreement between the RHU and the mother encourages seeking of prenatal care as early as the 1st trimester. Withdrawal of savings is done upon labor or cases of abortion. Mothers assigned with their baby banks are required to deliver either at the RHU or the hospital. Home deliveries forfeit the mother’s withdrawal of her savings. The project has resulted in better maternal health outcomes as it has encouraged more prenatal visits especially from mothers in their 1st trimesters as seen by the 18% to 27.5% increase in the pregnant women receiving at least 4 prenatal care. No maternal mortality again occurred since project implementation. Facilitybased deliveries have continued to increase from 83% to 92%. The project has presented an initiative towards producing equitable health care financing by means of the banking system that is being made available to the mothers. This health financing scheme has assisted the mothers to prepare financially for a safe delivery (average withdrawal of 500-600php saved in at least 5 months). It has also resulted in the active involvement of the different barangay health systems thru their Women’s Health Teams. The WHT is being utilized in project implementation via the active practice and use of the pregnancy tracking forms that has improved the monitoring of the pregnant patients in their respective barangays especially in seeking prenatal consults during the 1st trimester. Also, because of the active lobbying of the Barangay Kagawad on Health of Barangay Cantagda, their barangay health station became the 1st to adopt the project at the barangay level. Moreover, LGU participation has been brought about thru the inclusion of the project in the Municipal Ordinance 09-09 on Facility-Based Deliveries of the municipality. As stated in Section 2.3 … All punong barangays are also enjoined to establish Buntis Baby Banks in their Barangay Health Stations to help mothers to save for delivery. The LGU officials have also given their share in adding up to the savings of the pregnant mothers. Even in the initial implementation of the project, a more responsive health system, both at the municipal and barangay levels, is already being developed and solidified. The Buntis Baby Bank project has shown a simple strategy that ensures major results including assistance in neutralizing the poor economic situation of the mothers. The values of sharing, planning and saving have been developed even if the project is still in its initial implementation. Community members are also starting to be weaned off from dependence on dole-outs. Most importantly self- as well as community empowerment are starting to take their roots.





My Agutaya Experience
So, after the grueling 20 hours journey from Puerto Princesa, my first reward when I got in Agutaya was the cell site. And the next one would be the electricity which runs 4 pm to 12 midnight. For over a year now, I have served as the lone doctor of six islands. I lived in an area of pristine white sand beaches where for stretches, it is possible to not see anyone else but your own shadow. Proof? Amanpulo is 30 minutes away from one of the islands. (Ok, to brag a bit, I got the opportunity to stay in one of their exclusive villas for 4 nights, all for free). Best of all, my ex-fiancé and I had our wedding in one of those beaches. In the area, I get treated with utmost respect and importance. When I visit the island baranggays, I get the feeling that they feed me with the best that they have. Like humongous fish inihaw or lobsters fresh out of the sea. In some islands, fish are hard to come by so they feed me their precious chickens. I became the keynote speaker in the municipality high school graduation and a pre-school graduation in the next municipality. I was also invited to give a career talk to high school students, in yet another municipality (there are only 3 municipalities in my area, hehe!). When you pass by, schoolchildren would say “moyang damaldamal doktora” (good morning doctora), complete with the gesture of hand in the chest and bowing of the head. All of this is quite very humbling. And this respect translates to greater opportunities for service. In our area, the biggest hurdle is access. No Jollibee, no market, limited electricity, limited transportation, no hospital, no drugstore, no laboratory. The last DTTB to Agutaya was 8 years before I came. They had doctors for only a short time in between but not one really stays put. Patients die because they can’t be transported to the clinic or to the hospital. Some patients die while on transit. When I arrived, the clinic was hardly equipped with emergency tools – no generator, no oxygen, no medicines. And all the succeeding rewards were borne out of these challenges. Our priority was to equip the clinic with emergency response medicines and equipment. Electricity is a given for many places, but our lack of it have caused delays in the management of emergencies like asthma or hacking wounds in the middle of the night. We have installed inverters in the RHU which allowed us to utilize the solar electricity and run equipment like nebulizers and lights even after the 12 midnight. Also, we have distributed generator sets and nebulizers to our staff in the outstations. The health status reports also reflect how service is delivered. We were able to get hand of two laptop units and printer-scannerphotocopy machine. And I am proud that my staff has been eager to get their hands on them. (On a side note, we are the only municipal office that can print and photocopy during office hours because we have electricity at will. With the permission of the mayor, this has become income-generating for

The Rewards of Serving in the Barrios:

Dr.Romelei S. Camiling-Alfonso

I was fresh out of medical school when I accepted the challenge of serving in a far-flung area in Palawan. My reaction when I first saw Agutaya on the map was “oh no, may kuryente at signal ba diyan?” . Back then, I never really told my family where it was because they kept telling that they can’t find it on the map.
us). Before, reports to the PHO or documents to the CHD will have to wait for the next boat trip, delaying submissions. Now, my staff is internet-savvy and they can send these via email. In over a year’s time, our missionvision setting, target goals and staff assessment have resulted to dramatic improvement of data and service delivery. In the next month, we will be running our two TBDOTS laboratories. Our Botica ng Baranggay and BEMOC facility are underway. We have lobbied to include PhilHealth enrollment in the annual municipal budget, and for the first time, funds have been allocated. And we are now working on the PhilHealth accreditation of our RHU. Our local health board has become active it has become a venue for my staff to gain control over the health issues in the municipality. Maybe things would have been different if I chose to be assigned to an “easier” place. I do not really mind being away from all the comfort because I am living my dream job. I do consults and surgeries for free. I found out that I can push people to do their best – I never knew that until I became a doctor to the barrio. All because I am blessed with a committed staff that they gave me the opportunity to lead them despite of my inexperience (and height). I do not regret the choice I have made. As Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” How true this is of me.


Strengthening the four pillars of F1


EC hands technical assistance grant to Romblon province
Representatives from the European Commission handed over the grant to the province of Romblon, represented by the office of the congressman, governor, provincial health office, municipal health office and CHD IVB, in the formal handover ceremony in Casa Pilar Resort, Boracay, Malay, Aklan, March 19. For the past three years, various strategies and innovations were implemented in Romblon, being an F1 recipient. The provincial LICT and ILHZ partners have exerted efforts in conducting planned activities adherent to the need of the province in reference to the four pillars of the

GEARING TOWARDS A HEALTHIER ENVIRONMENT. Heads of different government offices of Region IV B share best practices in environmental health preservation in the Regional Inter Agency Committee on Environmental Health held in One Tagaytay Place, March 24-26.

F1 program. With the needs and results based actions of the provincial and municipal levels, the national objective for health were attained. The assessment of the service level agreement for 2009 showed improving capactities and services leading to a more responsive action this year. Technical assistance were also handed down to CHD IVB to ensure the gradual takeover of responsibilities in continuing and sustaining F1 initiatives to the grassroot level.

Sibuyan IHLZ launches first Barangay Health Workers Summit
Spearheaded by the two Municipal Health Officers from Magdiwang and San Fernando and one doctor to the barrio from Cajidiocan launched the first Barangay Health Workers Summit held last March 25 at the Muncipal Social Hall, Cajidiocan, Romblon The activity was attended by barangay health workers from the municipality of Magdiwang, Cajidiocan and San Fernando and three mayors of Sibuyan island, The office of the congressman and governor were also properly represented including CHD IVB. The summit aimed to give recognition to the barangay health workers by boosting their morale in rendering their voluntary services to health programs of their constituents. CHD IV B personnel discussed also the benefits and incentives of BHWs stipulated under the Republic Act of 7883 or otherwise known as BHW Benefits and Incentive Act of 1995. Key lectures and demonstration in soap making and other livelihood programs were conducted to augment their finances.

Revitalizing 13 BHS in Cajidiocan, Romblon

Donated by the PHI KAPPA MU International ad Food for Kids Cause, medical equipment were turned over to six barangay health stations (BHS) in Cajidiocan, Romblon in aid of the Full Fix project, last March 4. The six recipient barangays were Brgy. Taguilos, Lubang West, Danao, Ambalo, Catagda and Marigondon which were represented by their respective barangay captains. The CHD-Local Health Assistance Division staff who attended the turn-over ceremony, also expressed to support the training component of the Barangay Health Workers for the last phase of the Full Fix Project. The Full Fix Project is a pet project of Dr. Heide Exconde, doctor to the barrio (DTTB) to Romblon. The program implementation consists of three phases: formalizing health systems at the barangay level, providing each BHS with adequate equipment and capability building of active BHWs ad establishing a two-way referral system between the BHS and RHUs. The project aims to revitalize the thirteen BHS of Cajidiocan into fully functional BHS and birthing facilities in identified barangays that are able to provide

CHD IVB commits training component to Full Fix Project

complete basic health services in the community. The highlights of the activity were the signing of memorandum of agreement between the municipal government and the resident barangay captain and renewing the commitments of the assigned midwife, BHW and others in the management and sustainability of the provided medical equipment.

EMPOWERING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. CHD IV B spearheaded the series of Hands-on training for web-based Philippine Registry for Persons with Disabilities information system in Romblon and BusCuCulin, Palawan.



GLORIFINO JUAN, MD Ospital ng Palawan

ARTURO CUNANAN, MD Chief of Hospital, Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital

ANNA BIRTHA DATINGUINOO, RN Chief of Staff FAITH ALBERTO, MD OIC - Assistant Regional Director


LESTER AÑONUEVO OIC - Planning and Statistics Unit

JOSELITO PADUA, RN OIC - Management Support and Services Division

DR. FE ALMIRANTE OIC - Regulations, Licensing and Enforcement Division

ANNA BIRTHA DATINGUINOO, RN OIC - Local Health Assistance and Development Division

MA. TERESA CASTILLO, MD OIC - Health Operations Division

MICHAEL ENARBIA, MD Provincial Health Team Leader, Occidental Mindoro

ELSA ALBERTO, MD Provincial Health Team Leader, Oriental Mindoro

LETTICIA VITTO, RN Provincial Health Team Leader, Marinduque

RUTH CERVO, MD Provincial Health Team Leader, Romblon

ALI AGAMA, MD Provincial Health Team Leader, Palawan

Proud Ako!

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