DOH launches door-to-door community health teams

An October 11, 2011 press release from the Department of Health

The Department of Health (DOH), with the Departments of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Education (DepEd), today launched the Community Health Team (CHT) Mobilization campaign to guarantee that every family in the community is periodically visited and attended by health providers as part of the government’s efforts to achieve Kalusugan Pangkalahatan or Universal Health Care.

The CHT Mobilization teams (CHTs) will do a nationwide door-to-door visit to reach all families, especially the poorest Filipino households, identified through the DSWD’s National Household Targeting System (NHTS). The CHT Mobilization aims to link these families to social service providers, provide critical social services when needed, and deliver key health messages.

“Government is allotting a budget of P1.25 billion for this campaign,” announced Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona.

The 42,000 CHTs assembled thus far seek to visit some 10.8 million households under the NHTS nationwide . Each CHT shall visit 15-80 households per day to cover the entire barangay in 17 to 25 days depending on the total households and distance of each household in the said barangay.

Aside from providing information, the CHTs shall also distribute complete treatment packages or medicines, provide immunizations for children and senior citizens and other health services as the need arises, like counseling for mental health problems and family planning needs. The campaign is scheduled to run from October 2011 to January 2012.

Each team is composed of a leader, either a midwife or nurse, and four members that include a barangay health worker or traditional birth attendant, a social welfare development office representative or parent-leader, a barangay nutritionist, and a barangay service population officer.

“The DOH is now on the next phase of its effort to achieve Kalusugan Pangkalahatan, and this campaign is just one of many programs directed to providing poor Filipino families access to quality health care,” said Ona.

Health education and information in maternal and child care, adoption of a healthy lifestyle, and utilization and availing of PhilHealth benefits are among the key messages that will be disseminated, not only to NHTS poorest families but to each household in the communities.

“The mobilization of CHTs is the DOH’s strategy to ensure that all populations and individuals vulnerable to illnesses are provided information and services to maintain their health and well-being and to prevent progression of illness. After all, preventing illness and promoting wellness is in fact cheaper than treating the sick,” said the health chief.

The 12 priority areas to be covered include Metro Manila, Negros Occidental, Quezon, Cebu, Pangasinan, Iloilo, Cavite, Maguindanao, Zamboanga del Sur, Leyte, Davao del Sur, and Pampanga.

The DOH is taking the lead in this initiative and in particular will be in charge of the training and mobilization of CHTs. Partner agencies will provide additional support in terms of logistics and information among other things in the implementation of the program.

“The collaboration with other government agencies like the DSWD, DILG, and DepEd is important in order for us to successfully implement our health programs, especially our agenda of Kalusugan Pangkalahat,” Ona said.