Each of our CHAs is responsible for roughly 25 women in their community area. Each CHA checks in with these women and provides them with contraceptive refills or prenatal vitamins if they’re pregnant. Estimated girls & women affected 204
Our CHAs directly impact 204 women and girls, who in turn have their own families that are impacted by their healthier lives. We multiplied 212 women and girls (204 clients plus the 8 CHAs) with an average family size of 5. Estimated community members affected 1,060
On the way to flatter bellies
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.
It’s been one year since you chose to support Roots of Health and allowed us to provide education and clinical services for reproductive health in the village of Aplaya, a small, coastal community in Barangay Tagburos, about a 30 minute drive out of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, in the Philippines. Our programming has taught women to better understand their bodies and their health, and has empowered them to realize that they can control the number and spacing of their children. 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. With your support, in the last year we’ve provided free contraceptives to 143 women who did not want to become pregnant but could not afford contraceptives.
Our nurse, Daisy, was moved by our client, Gina’s story. Gina has three children and does not want anymore. However, her husband refused to pay for her contraceptives. He argued they were too expensive and that the money should go towards food instead. Gina doesn’t have work and couldn’t persuade her husband to respect her wishes. When she found out that Roots of Health was providing free contraceptives, she was thrilled. She is so happy knowing she can control her own body.
Risks and challenges
In our first quarter working in Aplaya, we did not have a huge demand for our services as people either didn’t believe we were giving contraceptives away for free, or weren’t exactly sure how contraceptives work. To address this challenge, we embarked on a targeted information and education campaign telling our clients about the benefits of planning the spacing and timing of pregnancies, and how exactly contraceptives work. After this, the number of women and girls accessing our services increased dramatically. At the close of the year, we’ve provided (and are continuing to provide) contraceptives to 143 women and girls.
What we’ve learned
We had a slow start in Aplaya because people found it hard to believe that our services were truly free so they were hesitant to come to us for their clinical services. After the first few months working in the community, we enlisted the help of our Community Health Advocates to spread information around the community about Roots of Health and our programming and services. Once we exerted this effort, the number of women and girls who started coming to us for their contraceptives increased dramatically. If we were to do it all again, we would start with the more aggressive information and education campaign.
We are committed to continuing to provide our clinical services to the women and girls of Aplaya. Our Catapult funding has run out but we will raise new funds in order to continue providing our vital and life-saving services. Watch our page in the coming weeks for new projects!
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"Before Roots of Health was here in our community, you couldn’t find a flat belly anywhere, because everyone was always pregnant."
Why we care: Family planning is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions.
How we're solving this: Nurses and midwives help the women and girls keep track of their schedules so they get refills and new injections on time, keeping them safe from unplanned pregnancies.
The village of Aplaya overflows with children, and there are pregnant women everywhere. As we’ve done in other communities, Roots of Health will teach two cycles of Reproductive Health classes to the women in Aplaya. The classes educate women on their bodies and help them understand pregnancy and how to plan the number and spacing of their children. Our nurses and midwives will teach these interactive classes and will also provide free clinical services, including counseling and dispensing of contraceptives to those who want to use them (oral contraceptive pills, the injectable three-month contraceptive DMPA and condoms), pap smears, and pre and postnatal check ups for pregnant women and girls. We make sure women understand these tools and medicines and know how to use them properly. Our nurses and midwife help the women and girls keep track of their schedules so they get refills and new injections on time, keeping them safe from unplanned pregnancies.