Land of Islands
The Philippines is located in Southeast Asia in the Pacific Ocean. The country is comprised of 7,107 islands and has a population of more than 100 million people. Due to location, the country is prone to a number of natural hazards, food security issues and is susceptible to climate related diseases such as malaria and dengue. While significant progress has been made towards improving the state of health in the Philippines, there are a number of challenges, both related to communicable and noncommunicable diseases, currently being addressed by the decentralized healthcare system.
"Despite a 4% GDP growth annually for the past decade, 41.7% of the population still live on less than $2/day. 30% of children under five years of age are stunted. Less than half of all babies are breastfed to 6 months." -WHO
Working in Partnership with AMIGA-UP
Cavite is a province located on the southern shores of Manila Bay. It is a fast growing community due to the proximity to Metro Manila. Areas of Cavite are known as a refuge for those looking to escape the city and head to a more comfortable climate and picturesque region on the weekends. The area has recently faced many challenges due to the rapid growth of local tourism and industry but limited infrastructure improvements.
The province of Cavite is located within the greater Manila area and is in close proximity to country's capital. The closest municipality is located only 9 miles from Manila, while other communities are located several hours from the capital.
While there are a number of clinics located in the province, health resources and knowledge lack. This has contributed to a high incidence rate of preventable diseases and a lack of proper medication and education.
We start with a community diagnostic. We meet with the leaders. We talk to community members. We live and breathe healthcare in the area and implement programs and services based on the actual, current needs.
Learn More About Cavite +
Recent healthcare policy improvements in the Philippines have been supported by strong economic growth, as well as a focus by the government on creating programs to expand coverage. However, nearly 50% of the population lives on less than $2 per day, and an inequality in care persists. Medicine prices are among the highest in the region, and access to services varies greatly depending on location.
These challenges have caused many of the key health indicators to remain stubbornly unimproved. According to WHO, 30% of children under five years of age are stunted, with severe and moderate malnutrition reported. In addition, maternal mortality rates have remained nearly unchanged over the past 25 years, and are now more than twice as high when compared to the broader WHO region. Per capita total expenditure on health is increasing, but still lags behind comparable countries, at a time when non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are on the rise.
The district of AMIGA, which is a group of municipalities in the province of Cavite, is the target of a recent initiative to further develop local community healthcare and education. In general the risk factors and top causes of morbidity and mortality mimic Philippines as a whole, and this led to a community discussion to answer why hypertension and diabetes were not being more controlled. FIMRC, in a partnership with the University of Philippines, is looking to help answer this question and provide a long-term impact on rural medicine through consistent training and guidance to medical students.
Year-round operations mean adapting to our environment and listening to our communities. We live and work among the families in the communities of Cavite. With the support of our volunteers, we dedicate our resources to three main areas of focus: support for medical interns and residents in rural clinics, health education and special initiatives. Below are a few examples of the initial stages of our work at Project Cavite.
Work with medical students and residents in local clinics
Support Rural Health Units
Train local midwives and nurses on computer use for reporting
Conduct community based medical visits
Support immunization campaigns
Barangay Health Workers' trainings
Hypertension education and control
First aid training in rural communities
Diabetes support groups
Partnership based work with the University of the Philippines
Working with local health units to train staff
Hypertension awareness campaigns
Surveying barangays to better understand needs
Art based programs in the Cancer Institute of Manila
Project Cavite thrives on the efforts of volunteers, all of whom contribute to the current needs and initiatives on-site. Whether you're giving a training in diabetes to community members, hiking through the community with Barangay Health Workers, or spending the afternoon taking vital signs in a rural clinic, your efforts allow us to better serve the residents of Cavite and the surrounding communities.
All volunteers have the opportunity to participate in both the clinical and health education aspects of operations on-site, and activities can range from participating in health worker trainings to shadowing in one of the local health clinics.
Over the course of your trip you'll receive an unfiltered experience in health care field work abroad, and learn about the tremendous impact that even one person can have. At our end, so as to maximize your contribution, we will tailor your experience based on current needs of the community, your interests, training, and amount of time that you spend with us on-site in Cavite.
Curious about the logistics of volunteering? Click below for more information on flights, activities, accommodations, transportation, trip cost, and more!