CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Aug. 3 (PNA) – Eight municipal towns in Northern Mindanao graduated last July 30 from the Municipal Local Governance Program on Health jointly undertaken by Zuellig Family Foundation and Xavier University’s Governance and Leadership Institute (GLI).
The eight were towns of Damulog, Kibawe and Malitbog in Bukidnon; Linamon and Tubod in Lanao del Norte; and Jimenez, Plaridel and Tudela in Misamis Occidental.
For Damulog, Mayor Romeo Tiongco shared how he successfully convinced each household to contribute Php 20 per month to deflect the fuel expenses of the town’s ambulance. Tiongco was likewise successful in achieving a zero birth rate in 2014.
Under his helm, he expanded the Local Health Board, which never failed to hold regular meetings, conducted barangay health leadership, workshops, newborn initiated breastfeeding within an hour after birth, among others.
Tubod was not so lucky. Mayor Nielita Noval admitted that there were still pregnant mothers in her town, who choose the services of quack midwives rather than the registered ones.
Thus, there was a near-death in both mother and child recently and the municipal government has forcibly shoulder Php 11,000 worth of expenses just to ensure the smooth delivery of a child, Noval said.
In Plaridel, Misamis Occidental, the municipal government increased its health budget to 13 percent of the whole pie in 2014.
The town also created a trust fund for PhilHealth reimbursement, under the “Tunog ni Nanay, Tunog ng Buhay” (Mama’s Voice, Life’s Voice) training and hired three ambulance drivers on call 24/7.
The municipal town of Plaridel also posted a zero maternal and infant deaths in 2014.
Of the eight municipalities, the town of Kibawe has to cope with the challenges of minimizing infant deaths – it experienced 12 birth-related deaths in 2014.
Kibawe also reported a high teenage pregnancy rate and the municipal government still has to hire its own pharmacist.
The Municipal Leadership and Governance Program on Health is a one-year, two-module program for mayors and municipal health officers, touching such topics as good governance in the health sector, health service delivery, health workforce, health information, access toessential medicines and healthcare financing.
Zuellig Foundation necessitates the presence of the mayors in the training since according to them, “when the leaders are armed with knowledge on healthcare, the rest in the ladder of power will follow.” (PNA)