February 28, 2022
Typhoon Odette, the 15th storm and the strongest to hit the Philippines last year left devastated farming and fishing communities in many areas of the country. Millions of people were displaced due to damaged homes, and many lost their livelihoods and their major source of income aside from the massive electricity and telecommunications outages in many areas which are just newly restored now.
Just when people across the nation are already coping with increasing poverty, unemployment and a roll-back on development gains following two years of the pandemic, their resources are now depleted and local coping capacities are severely strained.
In Caraga, before the typhoon hit, 53% of families were unable to afford a nutritious food, and childhood stunting was at 36% indicating a “very high public health significance”.
Siargao Island and Dinagat Islands were the much affected areas in the region. Pzrotection of at-risk populations was one of the immediate critical needs identified after typhoon Odette in addition to emergency shelter, food, water, sanitation and hygiene, evacuation support, family reconnection, health care and case management.
DOH AO No. 2016-005 prescribed the mechanisms for the implementation of Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH). The MISP for SRH in crisis situations is a series of crucial, lifesaving activities required to respond to the SRH needs of affected population at the onset of a humanitarian crisis especially so that it is coupled with social, financial and economic crisis. Said AO stipulated that delivery of information and services on SRH should not be interrupted during disastrous situations.
During the visit of POPCOM USEC Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez, lll to the LGU officials of Surigao del Norte and Surigao City on January 3, 2022, Dr. Perez expressed POPCOM’s commitment to help in the recovery and rehabilitation efforts primarily by providing logistical assistance on Reproductive Health and Family Planning (RPRH) services at the community to include the province of Dinagat and Siargao Islands as one of the areas in Caraga Region badly hit by typhon Odette. Usec Perez ordered POPCOM Mindanao regions to hold hands in undergoing the mission.
In response, the Commission on Population and Development-Region X (POPCOM X) sent its FP Wellness Clinic midwives to Dinagat Island on February 8-10 and to Siargao Islands on February 22-24, 2022. Together with the POPCOM Mindanao itinerant team, the group conducted FP service delivery on Progestin Sub-dermal Implant (PSI) at the covered court of Mahayahay, San Jose and in the RHU of Libjo in Dinagat islands. The clients’ FP needs and history on their medical status and conditions were assessed to ensure that they were medically eligible for their chosen FP method. They were also oriented on human reproductive anatomy and physiology and PSI aside from FP counselling. Of the 60 enlisted beneficiaries in Dinagat Islands, 49 were successfully served with one availing the injectable.
On the other hand, a total of 50 clients were served on PSI at OPD, Siargao Island Medical Center, Dapa, in the Municipal Gym of Sta, Monica and in the RHU of Del Carmen all in Surigao del Norte. In subsequent days, the team delivered FP commodities such as PSI rods, Auxilliary kits, POP, IUD and Condom in the municipalities of General Luna, Pilar, San Isidro, Burgos, Sta. Monica, San Benito, Del Carmen and Dapa.
The declaration of national vaccination day by the DOH on February10, 2022 and the inclement weather due to the occurrence of low pressure area on February 10 however caused a low turn out of FP clients as big waves hindered them to come to the venue.
Even then, POPCOM X remains committed to provide FP service delivery to wherever necessary to help couples achieve their fertility goals and eventually reach the fulfillment of their desired family aspirations having a well-manageable family size.