Program Helps 2,600 Islanders
Mapun and Turtle Islands are the two poorest and most remote municipalities in Mindanao’s Tawi-Tawi province.
The islands are about a 17-hour boat ride from the capital of Bongao through some of the most difficult sea routes in the Philippines.
Remote Location Means Limited Health Care
Health providers based in Mapun and Turtle Islands are isolated for much of the year because of these transportation obstacles.
Often they can only be visited by provincial health services staff during the dry season.
Program Engages Key Actors to Drive Local Health Initiative
The Sustainable Health Improvement through Empowerment and Local Government (SHIELD) project works with local partners to remedy this situation. Funded by USAID, the health- and nutrition-focused development program coordinated in May with key local actors to advance the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Health Department’s “Reach Every Barangay Plus” strategy. (Barangay means village.)
Under this initiative, which aims to provide an integrated package of health services to underserved areas, 2,600 indigenous Jama Mapun villagers who inhabit Mapun and Turtle Islands received an array of health care services that had been previously unavailable.
SHIELD successfully connected the health department with the U.S. and Philippine military, the Tawi-Tawi Health Office and other agencies and donors to jointly deliver these needed and overdue health services.islands.
Health Program Works to Improve Comprehensive Services
SHIELD is a comprehensive maternal and child health project that focuses on incorporating all sectors of society in promoting good health practices and better services.
Under SHIELD and in conjunction with partner Helen Keller International, the lead implementer of the project, ACDI/VOCA works to mobilize local communities, health professionals and the local government units in the Philippines to improve health services delivery and coverage.
Pictured at top left: Medical team provides health services to a villager.