After a two-year break because of the pandemic, the Rural Health Unit (RHU) of Rizal municipality in Southern Palawan will bring back its annual IP Health Caravan to help the health of indigenous people in town.
Municipal Health Office (MHO) chief Dr. Kathreen Stephanie Luz Micu, said that the RHU will conduct a two-day health caravan starting October 3, Monday, to give time for dialogue with IP leaders and elected officials about existing health issues.
The concerns with other government agencies will also be discussed to inform the IPs of the health services they may avail themselves of. The main health issues of IPs to be discussed during the health caravan are the COVID-19 vaccine, malaria, tuberculosis, nutrition, and sanitation.
“Kasi usually nagkaka-issue kami like sa pangalan nila, hindi sila naka-register. Sa PhilHealth, hirap sila maka-avail dahil wala silang mga birth certificate. Target talaga ay mabigyan sila ng health services at mas maging aware sila kung ano ang pwede nila maitulong sa kanila,” she said.
The caravan will also help to make health services accessible to IPs and lessen the hesitation on their part to connect with medical practitioners. Due to the distance between their residences and health facilities, IPs also struggle to get down in hospitals.
The practice of transferring houses of IPs, particularly with Pala’wan, is also challenging for RHU in tracing the health records and monitoring the IPs. Most of the IPs in the town are Pala’wan and Tau’t Bato.
“Ang iba kasi ay natatakot magpakonsulta, ngayon may na-hire na personnel si DOH na naka-assign sa IP areas. May na-identify sila na patients na ngayon lang nakita at naibaba sa RHU and then sa hospital– Dahil paiba-iba sila ng lugar, hindi na namin sila mahanap,” she said.