IP-MNCHN project in Dumingag completed

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(ALT/GCC/PIA9/Zamboanga del Sur)

DUMINGAG, Zamboanga del Sur, Oct. 28 (PIA) – The local officials and indigenous peoples (IPs) on Friday marked a huge milestone as they celebrate the completion of 5-year wonderful project dubbed the “Indigenous Peoples-Maternal Newborn Child Health and Nutrition (IP-MNCHN).

The IP-MCNHN is a project launched by the European Union (EU) and United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA) in partnership with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), and local government unit (LGU) on October 21, 2012 and fully completed on October 22, this year.

The project is intended to guide Local Government Units (LGUs) in designing approaches to deliver MNCHN services especially to IP communities that are most at risk from maternal and child deaths, aimed at improving the health condition of IPs .

Vice Mayor Nacenciano Pacalioga, Jr., lauded the EU and UNFPA for launching the project in his municipality saying that it offered great help to the people.

“The IP-MNCHN project delivered health services to the poor especially the IPs living in the remote barangays of our municipality in its 5 years of implementation. The project helped reduce maternal and child mortality, problem on diseases, poverty and others,” Pacalioga said.

Meanwhile, UNFPA Country Director Klaus Beck said with the leadership of the NCIP, DOH and with the support from the EU, they have reached over 117,000 people who availed maternal and family planning services including 8,000 pregnant and lactating women across Mindanao.

Beck said the project capacitate doctors, nurses, midwives and community health teams on family planning and emergency obstetrics and reproductive health services.

IP-MNCHN provided 10 sets of birthing facilities equipment to all the project sites, trained staff and facilitated communications campaign to encourage people to use these new services which aimed to improve their own health and provide information materials on teenage pregnancy in the disadvantaged communities.

The UNFPA country director shared the life changing stories of two IP women.

“I am sharing to you the story of Babylonia Andata, an IP member who never forgets the joy she felt when she received her birth certificate at the age of 49,” Beck said.

“For Babylonia, that piece of paper is her proof of existence where she finally had a license to apply and enjoy social services which is also her ultimate right as a citizen in this country. Her birth certificate remains an important document. Soon she will be a senior citizen and it will also ensure her continued access to health services and enjoy entitlements,” Beck narrated.

Beck also told the story of Joan Sulit, 27 years old, a Subanen who said access to health care became easier after she got her birth certificate. She was able to deliver her second child in a health center accredited by PhilHealth .

He said Babylonia and Joan’s stories are just few among thousands of stories. “Because of our joint project and services, many more IP women and girls are now healthier, more proactive and have better opportunities to plan for their future,” Beck proudly said.

In the past, Beck said women like Babylonia and Joan were not given priority in terms of support services. “Many IP women also face discrimination and barriers to access key social services like health and education,” he concluded.