LAOAG CITY – More than 1,500 members of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in Salcedo, Ilocos Sur on Thursday benefited from the first "Bagong Pilipinas Para Sa Mga Katutubo Caravan" held for the first time in the town to bring quality healthcare services.
People trooped to the town hall’s covered court on Thursday and availed of various medical services
by the Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with public and private health professionals.
After lining up for medical eye check-up, 60-year-old Felix Silverio, a resident of Barangay Ubbog can see clearly with a new pair of eyeglasses.
“I am so thankful to the DOH and to all those who brought these blessings to us,” he said in Ilocano.
During the whole-day caravan, volunteer health workers provided medical services such as consultation, laboratory, dental, nutrition, mental health, Philippine Package of Essential Non-Communicable Disease Intervention or PhilPEN screening, diabetic retinopathy screening, cervical cancer screening, immunization services (human papillomavirus, flu vaccine), hearing test, and advocacy on the DOH scholarship grant for students who wish to pursue pharmacy course.
In Region 1, the DOH health caravan for IPs was first rolled out in Sison in Pangasinan, then in Nueva Era in Ilocos Norte, and now in Salcedo, Ilocos Sur, to be followed by La Union.
In her speech during the opening program which was livestreamed on Facebook, provincial health officer Trina Talaga told Salcedo residents that the caravan was just the beginning of quality healthcare services made more accessible and affordable to the public.
“May this serve as a reminder for us to take good care of our health as treatment does not start in hospital. Let us invest in our health by eating healthy, sleeping well, and through regular exercise. What you are experiencing right now is because of the enactment of the universal healthcare law, making primary healthcare services accessible and available for all,” said Talaga.
Salcedo Mayor Grazielle Itchon expressed gratitude for the delivery of quality healthcare to her constituents mostly composed of IPs.
Located 358 kilometers north of Manila, Salcedo town is a fourth-class municipality in Ilocos Sur dominated by IPs living in the upland.
With the help of the DOH, the town’s infirmary center is currently being upgraded into a Level 1 hospital to provide better healthcare services to the people.
A barangay health station is also being constructed in the area and is expected to be completed within the year. (PNA)