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A site of convergence: revisiting DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS’ pilot project in Dolores

In its 14 years of operation as one of DSWD’s flagship programs, Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) has been in the forefront of community-driven development since its pilot implementation in Dolores, Quezon in 2003. The program aims not just to improve delivery of social services to poor communities, but more importantly, to build their capacity to address their felt needs and encourage their active participation in local governance in the long haul.

Brgy. Pinagdanlayan, where a health station was constructed as one of Kalahi-CIDSS pilot subprojects, became the site of convergence between two DSWD promotive programs.

Program convergence

DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS focuses on empowering communities to address the shared challenges they face on a daily basis. In the case of Pinagdanlayan, the project enhances the community’s access to health care.

Brgy. Captain Francisca “Sally” Deliso said that before the structure was completed in 2005, families in need of medical assistance received services in a makeshift health center that used to be a kambingan (goat pen) made of spare coco lumber and bamboo. Now that a more conducive health station is operational, the residents, including the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, enjoys better access to preventive medicine.

The one-storey health station is located at a barangay road intersection also serving two other barangays: Manggahan and Cabatang.

Juncel Reyes, the assigned nurse, said that on regular days, they attend to as many as 10 people a day. Most of them are Pantawid Program beneficiaries complying with the conditions on their health grants.

At the other end of the convergence, the Pantawid Program invests on human development providing conditional cash grants to poor families in the community in need of educational and health assistance. This compels program beneficiaries from Pinagdanlayan and neighboring barangays to secure preventive health care for their families at the nearest health station.

 

Inter-agency convergence

Households are entitled to a P500 grant every month for as long as they keep their children healthy through regular health monitoring and preventive care. Pregnant women receive pre-natal and post-natal care, while their newborn and young children ages 0 to 5 receive regular health checkups, growth monitoring, and vaccinations. Older children ages 6 to 14 are provided deworming pills by the barangay health worker twice a year. All services are available in Pinagdanlayan’s health station free of charge through the program’s inter-agency convergence with the Department of Health (DOH).

The facility’s sustained operation may also be attributed to the family development sessions on proper health care that Pantawid Program beneficiaries regularly attend. Not only are the residents more conscious about the health and wellness of their families; they are also aware that they can access these services for free at a neighborhood health station.

Aside from ensuring the availability of preventive medicines and health services, the DOH also pays for the salary of Juncel and the barangay midwife, Rovelyn Locus. Together, they deliver other preventive health services to both members and non-members of the Pantawid Program. Among other DOH programs, residents can avail of free screening of non-communicable diseases as well as health education and counselling.

“Alam na ng mga [pasyente] na kapag pupunta sila [sa health station], may tao. Noong una, hindi ganyan kadami ang napunta.” (The people now are aware that when they come here at the health station, someone will accommodate. Not as many people came before.) Kapitana Sally said.

Community health hub

Most of the community volunteers who participated in the preparation, planning, and implementation of the project are Pantawid Program beneficiaries. Going to the health station has become part of their routine and not just an additional chore they need to accomplish for compliance. They now understand the benefits of having a well-equipped health station that they can call their own.

Kapitana Sally was the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) chairperson of Pinagdanlayan before she was elected as barangay official. She witnessed the resident’s eagerness to participate in the spirit of bayanihan. She admits that it was a learning process for everyone involved. But with the guidance of Kalahi-CIDSS’ area coordinating team, the community volunteers have managed to learn the ropes and build their capacity to complete one project after another.

Eventually, visiting the health station they built has become a community habit to the residents. One Pantawid Program beneficiary mentioned about staying there at the waiting area as a productive way to pass time and learn something valuable. Kapitana Sally noted that sometimes they would bring food and other supplies for the health workers.

At the heart of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS’ community empowerment activity cycle is the notion that the project does not end with the completion of an infrastructure. The success of a project lies in how a community is able to sustain its operation so as to serve a purpose that address the evolving needs of the community. In Pinagdanlayan, the building is but a monument to what the health station truly represents – a community hub for people who considers the health of their families a top priority.xxx

 

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