|K4Health Community Youth Training Program
FORMATION OF COMMUNITY-BASED VOLUNTEER YOUTH LEADERS FOR HEALTH (COMMUNITY VYLH) AND TRAINING ON HEALTH PROMOTION TOWARDS
BIRTH DEFECTS PREVENTION AND NEWBORN SCREENING PROMOTION
BIRTH DEFECTS PREVENTION AND NEWBORN SCREENING PROMOTION
The K4Health Community Youth Training Program is a collaboration of The UPLB Genetics Society, Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines and a partner Local Government Unit (LGU) through its local health office.
The initiative is an opportunity to organize a local health promotion core group and to affiliate community youth leaders from the Host LGU to Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health-Philippines - a national collaboration of youth leaders from various youth organizations in universities and communities in the Philippines. VYLH-Philippines was organized as part of an international effort to establish the March of Dimes - Global Network for Maternal and Infant Health (GNMIH) participated by youth counterparts in China and Lebanon linked by the common interest of volunteerism and public service, to improve birth outcomes worldwide through advocacy.
Annually, an estimated 8 million children or 6 percent of the total births worldwide are born with serious birth defects of genetic or partially genetic origin (March of Dimes, USA). It is also estimated that around 3.3 million children less than five years of age die annually because of serious birth defects while the majority of those who survive may be mentally or physically disabled for life. In the Philippines, congenital anomalies rank among the top 20 causes of death across the lifespan. These conditions have also been in the top ten causes of infant mortality for the past fifty years (1960-2010) (Department of Health).
Another important early intervention for infant child mortality and disability prevention is Newborn Screening (NBS). NBS is important in detecting congenital metabolic disorders that may lead to mental retardation and death, if left untreated. It is a practice mandated by law through the Newborn Screening Act of the Philippines (Republic Act 9288). Through this act, NBS was integrated in the health delivery system, included in the license requirement of hospitals and added as one of the benefits of the national health insurance (PhilHealth). It is estimated that NBS can save 33,000 babies each year. By the end of 2014, national newborn screening coverage was projected at 65% of the total live births. Hence, there is still a need to promote awareness on this life-saving intervention in order to attain 100% coverage.
In 2014, Expanded Newborn Screening (ENBS) was launched and offered optionally. ENBS allows the detection of up to 28 metabolic disorders and hemoglobinopathies. However, ENBS is slowly reaping hype among the facilities and pregnant mothers due to lack of advocacy and its non-inclusion in the PhilHealth package. NSCs and VYLH-Philippines are now strengthening their campaign to popularize ENBS to better monitor the health status of our newborns and the population as a whole.
Both birth defects prevention and newborn screening are covered in the 25-year framework prepared by the Department of Health, Children’s Health 2025 which is a sub-document and DOH’s input to CHILD 21 or the National Strategic Framework for Plan Development for Children (2000-2025). CHILD 21 envisions that every Filipino child will be born healthy and well, with an inherent right to life, endowed with human dignity. To achieve this, the framework cuts across various stages of the child’s development, from the prenatal period to adolescence. Furthermore, Children’s Health 2025 states that a healthy Filipino child is “wanted, planned and conceived by healthy parents; shortly after birth, the child is screened for congenital defects; and if defects are found, interventions to correct these defects are implemented at the appropriate time” (Department of Health).
At present, there is no clear national program on promoting public awareness on birth defects prevention and care. However, VYLH-Philippines, together with its technical partners has been leading in the promotional, educational and advocacy activities related to addressing birth defects prevention and care since its institution in 2009.
Hence, this training will specifically focus on presenting and equipping participating youth leaders on VYLH-Philippines advocacies namely:
Involving the youth in promoting these health topics and other community health concerns in the future will be beneficial not only to the community but also the youth themselves. As information channels for health, the youth also becomes recipients of the information they intend to disseminate. Their knowledge on health concerns will increase as they become young health educators and advocates of the community. More importantly, this is expected to have a long-term impact since they are the community’s future parents and leaders. Aside from providing a background on the health advocacies of VYLH-Philippines, the training is founded on the importance of inculcating the value of VYLH organizational principles namely volunteerism, commitment, advocacy and leadership among the youth.
Lastly, this training program is the pilot module on the engagement of VYLH-Philippines university-based youth leaders to community youth organization and mobilization, and the first VYLH – LGU partnership of this kind which is hoped to be replicated in other locations in the country.
The main objective of this training program is to organize and establish a community volunteer youth leader for health core group in the Host LGU under the direct supervision of the Municipal Health Officer. This is true to the meaning of K4, “Kabataan Kabalikat ng Komunidad para sa Kalusugan”. In addition, the training aims:
We would be more than thankful if you could help us prepare for the implementation of this program. Monetary donations that will be used for this activity (such as the procurement of all necessary training materials: manila paper, markers, scissors, etc) and/or in-kind training supplies will be greatly appreciated.
For monetary donations, kindly deposit it in the following bank account:
Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to reach us through the contact numbers listed below.