WHO Geneva (2002) described ten characteristics of a healthy community. These characteristics served as guidelines in diagnosing the community. The following paragraphs will justify as to whether or not the barangay has met the parameters of a healthy community.
1: The physical environment is clean and safe.
Although 82% of the households have garbage container, 56% do not have cover. As for the method of disposal, from 54% of the households burn their wastes with 73% do not utilize compost pits. Moreover, there is no consistent schedule of the collection of garbage. Aside from waste disposal, 77% have mosquito breeding sites near home. Also, in the past 5 years, there were 4 reported cases of schistosomiasis.
It was noted that the lack of knowledge and information was one of the root causes of the problem. Hence community and school based activities were held as a means of educating them the proper ways of waste disposal and its importance in preventing diseases. Contests and competitions were also held as a motivation for the community to practice proper solid waste management. As a result now only 29% do not practice proper solid waste management with only 26% of the households resorting to open burning. In addition only 29% of the households do not utilize compost pits. Hence the barangay has passed in this parameter.
2: The environment meets everyone’s basic needs.
52% of the households responded that their incomes are able to sustain their daily needs. 93% of the households eat three times a day but mothers stressed that they do not have enough budget to provide their children with a balanced meal. The socioeconomic profile of the barangay also states that 32% of the households are below the poverty line. As for the housing, 82% of the houses are owned, while 50% of the lot is owned. The materials of 44% of the houses, however, are made up of light materials, which make the houses susceptible to destruction during floods and fires. As for drinking water supply and potability, 45% of the households get their drinking water from the springs even though it is uncertain if the water potable or not. 78% of the households do not practice any method of purification of drinking water. In the last 5 years, there have been 13 diarrheal cases in the barangay.
The updates for this include that 4 out of the 5 communal sources in the community failed to pass the water potability test. Hence the community was motivated to practice water disinfection prior to drinking bringing the number down to 18% who do not practice any form of water disinfection practice. A memorandum of understanding for backyard gardening of each household was underway but was unfortunately not accomplished. Considering all these, the barangay still needs improvement in this parameter.
3: The environment promotes social harmony and actively involves everyone.
Upon survey, 84% of the households always participates and gets involved in the community assembly and other activities. When problems arise in the barangay, 95% of the households do not hesitate to go to the Barangay Captain to ask for help. Also, about 45% of the households rely on their neighbor for news and information. Given all these signs of fair social interaction among the residents, the barangay has a good standing in this parameter.
4. There is an understanding of the local health and environment issues.
This parameter can be discussed through analysing the health care delivery system and health status in the barangay. 77% of the households only go to the health center only when needed. Upon group discussion with the hypertensive individuals, most agreed that they drink their medications only when they feel symptoms of hypertension. 35% of the households do not practice proper solid waste management and 73% do not practice any form of water disinfection practice. In addition it was noted that 16% of the children were noted to be underweight.
Taking all this into consideration, a series of lectures was held in educating the community on the importance of health and compliance to medications. School based activities were also held to bring light to simple acts that can be done to help alleviate environment issues. Barangay heath workers and the council were also educated in giving importance to health and the environment by highlighting the existing barangay ordinances and creating health awareness campaigns that promote proper sold waste management and its disposal. Importance of understanding the importance of hypertension and the need to practice safe water drinking were also emphasized. Now only 29% of the households do not practice proper solid waste management with 18% of the households not practicing any form of water disinfection. Mothers were also encouraged to participate in mother’s classes to inform them of the importance of keeping their children healthy bring down the number from 16% to 6%. Majority of the indentified hypertensive individuals are now compliant and enrolled in the hypertensive club.
Thus all the information point out that the barangay has now passed in this parameter.
5: The community participates in identifying local solutions to local problems.
As stated earlier, 84% of the households always participates and gets involved in the community assembly and other activities. These households also mentioned that they always attend their purok meetings. This can be considered as their way of participating in the activities of the barangay. With this, the barangay has a good standing in this parameter.
6: Community members have access to varied experiences, interaction, and communication.
57% and 75% of the households have radio and televisions, respectively. They use these as sources of information. Additionally, 96% of the households use cellular phones in order to communicate with other people outside the barangay. Purok 4, however, is problematic in terms of attaining mobile signal since it is located in the upland. This is an issue since communication is needed most especially during emergency situations. To apprehend this, an emergency referral pathway with key persons to contact was formulated and explained to the barangay tanods and purok presidents. The pathway was also distributed in the forms of tarpaulin for each purok hence ensuring that even during emergency situations; there is open line for communication. This parameter can still be improved.
7: The health services are accessible and appropriate.
Initial primary data showed that 60% of households self-medicate with to manage existing illness and 77% of the households visit the Rural Health Unit only when needed as it is located far from the barangay. Also, the core group stressed the need for first-aid training as they lack knowledge in managing a motor vehicular accident victim.
After meeting with the council and community, it was decided that it was better to educate the barangay health workers and create a group that can respond to emergency cases as a means to compromise the distance to the nearest health facility. Hence, BEAST or the Barangay Emergency Alliance and Safe Transport was formed and was given proper first aid and basic life support training. This now addresses any emergencies and accidents for proper treatment before referral to the nearest hospital. Barangay health workers were also trained to take blood pressure and notice warning signs that needed prompt attention from a higher health care facility. In addition a unified referral system with its proper referral pathway was given to each purok as a means of educating the community in what to do in times of emergency.
Hence this barangay has now passed in this parameter.
8: The historical and cultural heritage is promoted and celebrated.
The barangay celebrates their fiesta during the 20th of January annually. There is no evidence of cultural superiority or inferiority in the barangay. Their situation regarding this parameter is good.
9: There is a diverse and innovative economy.
46% and 29% of the individuals among the economically independent age group (14-65 years old) are farmers and unemployed, respectively. These farmers just earn 3 times in a year during harvest season. This then does not help them sustain their daily needs since they do not earn much when it is not harvest season. The livelihood of the individuals in the barangay is an issue that must be resolved. In this concern, the barangay has failed in this parameter.
10: There is a sustainable use of available resources for all.
74% of the households make us of their vegetable garden for their own consumption. There is no problem in the utilization of the available resources in the barangay. Therefore, the community passed in this parameter.
To sum all up, the community deals with problems that are in relation to the environmental, health, and socioeconomic features. Out of the 10 parameters of a healthy village or community given by the WHO, 1 is considered a failure with two still needing improvement. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, together with the work of the residents, the community has improved greatly. Therefore, we diagnosed the community as HEALTHY.
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