Refurbishing health centers, refueling care for communities

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Not just one but two highly destructive typhoons had hit the Brgy. Canlalay in Biñan, Laguna over the past years. Following the onslaught of Ondoy, the humble community was also devastated by the severe tropical storm Paeng.

But amidst it all, Brgy. Canlalay Health Station, the heart of healthcare in Canlalay, stood firm. Local health workers came together and utilized whatever resources they had to fulfill their responsibility of providing the first line of medical care in the community. This dedication, meanwhile, didn’t go unnoticed.

The UNIQLO Philippines and SM group, through SM Foundation and SM City Sta. Rosa, collaborated to support the refurbishment and revitalization of the health center.

DEDICATION, TRANSFORMATION

The health station is tucked in the center of the barangay, servicing seven areas with over 20,000 residents. With this, the center’s structure mirrored the challenges it has faced through the years.

From the outside, the center’s marker and paint have already faded, making it difficult for community members to locate their own health center. Inside, the roof had leaks, cables were exposed, and floorings were stained, affecting its safety and functionality.

According to midwife Jossie Zapata, additional problems arose during the onslaught of Paeng: “Ang kahoy po na sumusuporta sa aming mga bintana ay may anay na. Ang pinto ay hindi na rin po nakakabit sa hamba kaya’t ginagawan na lang namin ng paraan para maisara. Ganoon rin ang aming mga file cabinets–gawa ng kalumaan ay hindi na namin halos magamit o maisara. Wala rin po kaming lalagyan ng cards mga baby at mga buntis [Termites have infested the wooden wall that supports our windows. Our fixture of our door has been damaged to the point that we can no longer close our door. The same is true for our old, worn-down filing cabinets. We have no place for the baby and those who are pregnant].”

Brgy. Canlalay Health Station’s door and window before the renovation

To fill the other gaps, the community worked together to build a makeshift delivery bed: “Nagkaroon rin po ng pagkakataon na wala kaming delivery bed kaya’t nagpagawa po ako ng improvised na kama sa aking kapitbahay, para kahit papaano ay may mahihigaan ang mga pasyente naming buntis [When we had no more delivery beds, we improvised so that our pregnant patients can have beds],” she added.

Before and after: SMFI and UNIQLO Philippines upgrade the Brgy. Canlalay Health Station

As Brgy. Canlalay Health Station continues to rebuild and fortify its healthcare systems, SM and UNIQLO Philippines helped refuel their capacity to provide better service to the community.

Through the collaboration, the center underwent physical repairs–from roofing to walls and flooring. The termite-infested doors and windows were aptly replaced with glass doors and treated wood. The center was fitted with a breastfeeding station to provide comfort and privacy to breastfeeding mothers. 

The refurbishment efforts went beyond mere structural improvements. The health center was equipped with a delivery bed, medical equipment, a refrigerator for vaccines, and televisions for health programs. More energy-efficient lights and appliances as well as steel cabinets, chairs, and tables were placed to support the center’s operation.

Brgy. Canlalay Health Station midwife Jossie Zapata smiles as she uses the new delivery bed

After refurbishing health center, the SM group was able to fulfill its goal to foster a sense of community engagement and empowerment. Zapata said the developments will encourage more residents of Canlalay to come and avail of the services dedicated to them. On one end, it also boosted their capacity to serve more.

“Dahil sa renovation na ginawa ng SM Foundation at UNIQLO, talagang gagaan ang aming paghahatid ng serbisyo. Magandang halimbawa po ang aming mga cabinet. Ngayon, madali ko pong maaccess ang mga dokumento ng mga pasyente. Ang aming mga medical equipments, may matibay at accessible ng mga lalagyan. Madali na rin po naming makukuha ang mga tools and medicines dahil organized at properly labelled na po sila [The renovation implemented by SM Foundation and UNIQLO made it easy for us to deliver services. One example is our cabinet. It has made it easier for us to access patient documents. It has also provided a sturdy and accessible space for our medical equipments, tools, and medicine—all, now properly labeled],” she said.

“Dati, wala po kaming proper breastfeeding area. Alam po natin na mahalaga ang ito para mga nanay na dumadalaw dito para ipabakuna ang kanilang mga sanggol. Kaya’t talagang angat na rin po ngayon ang convenience at privacy ng aming mga pasyente dahil may nakalaan ng lugar para sa breastfeeding mothers. Ngayon, handa na kami kung sakaling magkaroon ng audit ang [Before, we did not have a proper breastfeeding area. We know how important this is for mothers who came to have their infants vaccinated. Now we have a proper breastfeeding area that give mothers privacy when they breastfeed their babies. Now we are prepared for the audit of the] Department of Health,” she capped.

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