Since receiving funding from Catapult, Roots of Health (ROH) has provided education and clinical services for reproductive health in the village of Aplaya, a small, coastal community in Barangay Tagburos, about 30 minutes drive out of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. The classes have taught women to better understand their bodies and their health, and have empowered women to realize that they can control their reproductive health. Within Aplaya, Roots of Health has worked directly with nearly 100 women and girls.
Roots of Health works with the most underserved communities in the area, and most of our clients want clinical services but have previously been unable to afford them.
So far, we have:
- Hosted 17 educational sessions, which 68 women and girls within the community attended at least once (with your help, now they are more knowledgeable about their health, and generally are living healthier lives)
- Met the contraceptive needs of 29 women (because of your support, these women, who were not using any form of modern contraception, now can avoid unplanned pregnancies and will be able to control their own bodies)
- Provided care and services to 11 pregnant women (each client received a free supply of prenatal vitamins and monthly prenatal exams)
- Gave 57 people in the community general checkups (checking blood pressure, cleaning wounds, and providing medication for the flu, colds, and minor aches and pains)
The main challenge we face in the community is a general distrust among our clients of the modern tools and procedures for pap smears and for delivery of babies with a skilled birth attendant. Our clinical team has only conducted two pap smears in the community because the women are not comfortable with internal examinations, and do not fully grasp the importance of detecting any potential problems. While we have made it clear to our clients that ROH’s services are completely free, the women who have given birth in the time we’ve been working in Aplaya have not called on our staff to assist with their deliveries. Instead they have continued to call the traditional healers (hilots)–sometimes with catastrophic outcomes.
Our team recently visited a new mother to provide cord care for her infant, only to find the mother hemorrhaging because the traditional healer had not ensured the proper removal of the placenta or provided after-birth care. If it were not for our staff’s quick interventions, this woman would have certainly bled to death. To read more about our staff’s heroic actions, please see the blog entry our clinical team wrote entitled How to Save a Life.
To address these challenges, we are working with our clinical team to do more outreach work within the community, and explain the complications that can arise during delivery of a baby. We are also stressing to all our clients that our services are absolutely free, and that if our nurses or midwife attends their birth, they will not have to pay them.
We are on track to complete the planned programming in Aplaya within the budget we proposed. For our first quarter of work, we’ve spent:
- Contraceptives: $84
- Nurse Salary: $328
- Transportation: $12
- Medical Supplies: $24
- Total: $448
Monitoring & Evaluation
Besides keeping close track of the funds we are spending, our staff also collect and analyze the numbers of people we are providing services to. Before beginning work in Aplaya, we completed a community-wide survey. We will do another at the end of the year to measure knowledge, attitude and behavior changes brought about by our programming. We keep medical records of all the women that seek our services and share these with the Puerto Princesa City Health Department.