Happy New Year to you all! As I’ve often mentioned, I run a civil society organization here in Palawan, Roots of Health, focused on improving reproductive health for women and young people. As we closed out 2017, I was thrilled and humbled to note the impact our organization had on the people we served.
In 2017 we surpassed our goals, which means more women, girls and adolescents of Palawan have access to lifesaving reproductive health services and information. I’d like to share with you a few of the year’s highlights:
- In 2017, we provided modern forms of contraception to 17,893 unique women and adolescents of reproductive age; that’s an almost 300% increase from 2016. We are able to reach women with our services through our Puerto Princesa City clinic, weekly community outreach and by traveling to the most marginalized parts of Palawan.
- Roots of Health believes that services should be partnered with information sharing and during the year we provided reproductive health, puberty and HIV classes to more young people than ever before. Our goal was to reach 18,000 students, however, our youth team traveled throughout Palawan and taught 19,241 high-schoolers and college students about their sexual health.
- We didn’t just reach more students, we worked with 169 school principals and teachers to be more empathetic to the needs of their students.
- Roots of Health further strengthened its relationship with local government health providers by training 1,105 health workers about youth-friendly service provision, reproductive health and HIV.
- We also taught 6,509 women in the communities we serve, including expectant moms, about healthy birth spacing, how to plan for childbirth and what to expect during their pregnancies. We, of course, wouldn’t be able to access all of the women that receive our services in our 12 communities without the help of our committed Community Health Advocates who currently serve 2,566 women, girls and adolescents in their respective communities.
- We provided prenatal care and free prenatal vitamins to 665 expectant moms. In Palawan, it’s still not the norm to deliver in hospitals, which is one of the reasons that maternal mortality still remains a problem here. So we were delighted that 92% of our clients gave birth in a medical facility in 2017. We paid for health insurance for 90 of our clients with high-risk pregnancies so they could safely deliver their babies.
- We trained 129 new Youth Advocates this year. Apart from being peer educators, the Youth Advocates referred 174 young people for HIV testing and 249 young women for contraceptive counseling. These referrals have been a large reason our clinic has seen a 100% increase in young people under 25 accessing services each year since 2015.
As you can see, 2017 was a very busy year! We hope that we will be able to have an even greater impact in 2018.
Have a wonderful year ahead!
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