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The June 3, 2011 MOTORCADE as the opening activity for the month-long celebration of the National Kidney & National No Smoking Month. LGU Department Heads were ordered to allocate 1 vehicle/motorcyle-load of participants to help make noise and remind the public of the importance of their kidneys and how leading a healthy lifestyle could do a whole lot of difference in keeping one's health. Health workers from the Bayawan District Hospital & the City Health Office with the BHWs (Barangay Health Workers) were among those leading the entrainment together with the Bayawan PNP and traffic enforcers. Barangay officials also joined casting anti-smoking and pro kidney messages.
The Opening Program for the said celebration also followed right after this motorcade, where the judging of the streamer-poster contest was done.
Thanks to all those who participated, particularly to Ms. Kay Kirsten Abrasalso, our documenter for the series of activities.
REDCOP IN JUNE
Since the birth of REDCOP (Renal-Kidney Disease Control Program) in the city about 7 years ago, the month of June has always been that eventful. June is dubbed by DOH as the National Kidney Month and is an opportune time for REDCOP to be further and better known, felt, patronized and advocated as a health program.
In favor of those who have not heard yet of this program, REDCOP was created in 2004 mainly to address the growing number of Filipinos who develop kidney failure or ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease) as a common complication of uncontrolled or poorly managed diabetes and/or hypertension. By the numbers, at the time of the program's conceptualization; kidney diseases, including kidney failure, was the 10th killer disease in the country. At about that time, Dr. Enrique T. Ona, then Executive Director of the National Kidney & Transplant Institute (NKTI) DOH Secretary now, affirmed about the kidney disease problem saying that every hour, 1 Filipino succumb to kidney failure; which translates to 120 Filipinos per million per year.
As prescribed by DOH, the city of Bayawan started the program’s implementation in 2005. At the initial phase of implementation, formal program orientations were given to city officials, department heads, health workers with the BHW’s (Barangay Health Workers), and LGU (Local Government Unit) employees. For the awareness of the program to flourish, intensive IEC’s were conducted in schools and barangays. To actively search for ESRD high-risk groups and individuals, an additional Medical Technologist was hired; free urinalysis was done on every walk-in client who manifested signs and symptoms of kidney problem; and free micral tests were done on masterlisted long-termer diabetic and hypertensive clients. With the basics done in the initial phase, and with most of these sustained as routine REDCOP activities, local kidney screening tests and medical observations not only proved that kidney diseases were a problem, but also that the problem was worst in the locality.
How worse or worst has it been in the region and the locality? In an update given by Dr. Kenneth Coo (nephrologist and REDCOP partner), kidney disease was the 6th killer in Negros Oriental and the 7th killer in all of Region VII in 2008; the worst so far in the whole country, and “nothing has changed significantly yet till the present”, Dr. Coo declared in a 2011 REDCOP symposium.
How has it been in Bayawan City? Based on the city’s Annual Health Report, it was the 5th killer in 2005; and the 8th in 2006; though had not been among the top 10 leading causes of death by 2007 to 2010.
2005-2010 in Bayawan, had been a time of discovering about both the worst of kidney diseases and about what could be done big time and double time. With the constancy of noise made about the peoples’ kidneys being at risk, the local government has also been constantly responsive and sustained its budgetary support to REDCOP. The city deserves recognition for its most recent REDCOP-supportive leap which was, financially aiding the Bayawan Water District (a semi-government entity) with the installation of water softener into its system which upgraded the water supply into a kidney-friendly one. As a background, before this installation in 2009, nephrologists suspected that quality of drinking water in Negros Oriental, including Bayawan, with high levels of “hardness” must have been contributing to the swollen number of clients with kidney diseases in the area. Bayawan City water supply had water hardness of 700mg/L, way too high from the tolerable levels of 200-300 mg/L. But thanks that this has been attended to; and according to the City Assistant Engineer, Antonio Aguilar, water hardness in Bayawan City now settles within tolerable and safe levels.
“Program Impact” must be the thing to be considered next, now that quite a lot has been done by the program. Being the program coordinator, readily I could say, REDCOP as a program, has made a difference in my place but as to whether to what extent, this I could not answer. Impact determination in its truest sense seems elusive in this project. Health belief, individual differences such as genetic, demographic, and other differences plus the absence of research machinery, scarce baseline data and countless other factors make result measurement undoable at the moment. My wish list then is for DOH to soon formulate a design for basic impact determination concerning certain measurable areas or aspects of REDCOP implementation.
REDCOP the Primary Health Care Way has been the core strategy employed for the program to be impactful. Last June, Bayawan City joined in the month-long celebration of, not only the National Kidney Month, but also the National No Smoking Month with the theme: “PAMILYA KUMUSTA, PELIGRO SA SIGARILYO UG SAKIT SA BATO LUWAS KA BA?” As may be said by this theme, the city intended to bring REDCOP and “NO SMOKING” advocacy down to the heart of every community- the households. The major activities which were conducted include: A motorcade on June 3, “A NEPHROLOGIST TALK: SMOKING & THE KIDNEYS” on June 13, “REDCOP AT YOUR DOORSTEP” Hypertension-Diabetes Screening on June 21 & 22, a RAP SONGWRITING & SINGING CONTEST: PERFORMANCE NIGHT on June 24, and a “ CHANGE HOME AIR” Sticker –Posting Fair on June 28 & 29.
THE MOTORCADE. LGU personnel, barangay officials, health workers from the City Health Office (with the BHW’s) and Bayawan District Hospital, and the poster-streamer contest participants were all drawn to this activity. This group assembled at the city hall ground at 3:30 pm on June 3, 2011 and roamed around city streets, villages, and parks bearing theme banners, posters and streamers. The CHO’s City Sanitation Section also hung their anti-Dengue streamer as June is also the nation’s Dengue Awareness Month
This event concluded at the City Quadrangle where the judging of the POSTER-STREAMER CONTEST and the Opening Program for the National Kidney & National No Smoking Month was staged. It was this motorcade which made the much needed noise for people to stop awhile and think of their kidneys. It also was a good display of a people and a government that will surely be there for their kidneys and their total well-being.
A NEPHROLOGIST TALK: “ Smoking & the Kidneys”. A nephrologist did talk at the Monday Morning Convocation on June 13, 2011. This talk was intended to reach the LGU employees & the city officials, the very crowd who could well help spread healthful words and actions. Dr. Kenneth T. Coo, who for years has been in a partnership with the local government of Bayawan for REDCOP, empowered all those present with his talk which cited concrete details on smoking and the damage it does to the kidneys. The good doctor concluded his talk posing 2 challenges to the city of Bayawan: first, to the city officials: for the upgrading of the existing “Anti-smoking Ordinanace” into something which would help make the city a “Smoke-Free City”; second, to the voting populace for them to vote for political candidates whose prime agenda is on health.
“REDCOP AT YOUR DOORSTEP” Diabetes & Hypertension Screening Activity. “Inverse care” is almost always seen as a barrier to health program implementation. It is happening when those who supposedly have the means and therefore have more options to life and to health, are the ones getting to a health facility and enjoy the most of what such facility can offer.
With REDCOP’s screening activities, inverse care is observed to be NOT A PROBLEM. It has usually been that the jobless, the out-of-school, the retired, and the like are the ones who arrive at screening sites and get the services. For a little twist then, the screening activity was made mobile since last year, so as to reach those who usually have the means but don’t have or don’t make the time for basic health check. Last June 21 and 22 (2011), 113 employees of cooperative banks, lending institutions, motorcycle sales units, appliance centers and a water refilling station were screened and enjoyed the basic “REDCOP AY YOUR DOORSTEP” services for free. The standard services given to every client include weighing, BMI (Body Mass Index) determination, and BP-Taking. Each client also received 2 brochures containing the “MUST SAYs” about smoking and exercise. Clients found to have elevated BMI were given blood sugar and urine tests, as well as brief IEC on “Hypertension-Diabetes Placemat”, a teaching material with a form of a placemat which provided basic information and practical units of measurement on a low salt, low fat, and low caloric diet patterned from that of Eli Lilly (Philippines), Incorporated. Thanks to Dr. Elizabeth Aguilar from whom such placemat was obtained and who has given us more inspiration on the giving of not only dietary and lifestyle counseling, but also including spiritual sharing to clients afflicted with lifestyle diseases.
This year’s REDCOP screening was just as fruitful. The ones with endangered kidneys were known. Useful information and observations were also drawn, such for instance that there were those who instantly made themselves ready to enjoy the available services and there were also those who refused to leave their tables or computers due to work pressures. Medications (oral anti-hypertensive and hypoglycemic) were also started on some cases. Thanks to all the managers who extended their full support namely to: Mrs. Ma. Louvelle Garcia of Cebu CFI, Mr. Felix C. Pino of Dumaguete City Cathedral Credit Cooperative, Mrs. Nimfa V. de la Cruz of Bayawan Community Cooperative, Mr. Socorro Y. Dinato of BMAKBI, Ms. Aileen A. Lopez of EMCOR, Mr. Rahman D. Gerodiaz of Ramas-Uypitching Motorcycle company, Mr. Rusty D. Jumawan of Sunrise Motorcycles, Mr. Eldrick Tizon of NORKIS, Mr. Jorge Olasiman of Du EK Sam, Inc., Mr. Rembert S. Nuique of Knights Lending Investors, Inc. , Mr. Fraulo D. Catan of Eversure Motorcycles, Mr. Nilo Salcedo of Motoposh Motorcycles, Mr. Renato L. Patalot of TVS and Mrs. Agustina E. Torreda of New City Ventures water refilling.
“PAMILYA KUMUSTA, PELIGRO SA SIGARILYO, LUWAS KA BA?”RAP SONGWRITING & SINGING CONTEST. It was our first time to stage such a contest. The goal of this contest was to cast messages to strongly inform the public of the evils of smoking and to urge smokers to quit and non-smokers not to start smoking. This was done to reach a large and diverse crowd for the promotion of healthy lifestyle and lifestyle modification.
The contest ran from May 12 to May 31 with June 24 as the performance night. At the big night, though the country was typhoon stricken then, the city has had such a fine weather and the city boulevard was quite packed with people of all ages, from all walks of life.
To psychologically prepare the audience for the intended learning of the night, an opening ceremony was conducted prior to the rendition of performances. Dr. Jenny June B. Tigbao, City Health Officer II (Bayawan City) did the welcome address. Dr. Tigbao, on top of her welcoming and introducing the guests, participants, and audiences, also did give a challenge to the populace at hand, saying that the city has been suffering of diseases and deaths caused by unhealthy habits like smoking and that such would be reason enough for everyone to take part in the campaign against smoking and other unhealthy practices.
The performance night indeed served its purpose well. There was a good balance of health teachings and entertainment then, which kept the audience on their posts althroughout the event. Mrs. Judith Vailoces, Provincial REDCOP Coordinator, delivered a talk on “Lifestyle Alert”, the part which alerted the audience on the hazards and the stinky facts about smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, drug abuse, lack of sleep and exercise. Ms. Josette Joy Navarro, Provincial DOH-Bloomberg Initiatives Project Coordinator also extended another bunch of learnings through a written message read by Ms. Annie Marie Duran, Assistant Healthy Lifestyle Coordinator (Bayawan City). Ms. Navarro’s message highlighted the VICTORIES achieved, as well as, the CHALLENGES still to be conquered in the global fight against the evils of smoking. The SP Chairman, Committee on Health, Hon. Mark Fidencio L. Aurelia also had his time and responded to the challenges just set before him and the people, saying that, “the sleeping” anti-smoking ordinance will be re-opened soon and upgraded according to what could serve the people best. The councilor’s commitment was reinforced by Hon. Luis Sumalpong, incumbent councilor who was, at that time, OIC Mayor. Hon. Sumalpong in his message articulated his full support to Councilor Aurelia for any anti-smoking agenda in the council.
Traces of political and legislative support were already clearly there. The battle of performances then began; four different groups yet speaking of one and the same language: that Smoking Kills! The contestants did vie for 3 major awards namely, the “2011 RAP KONTRA SIGARILYO CHAMPION”, the“2011 RAP KONTRA SIGARILYO 1ST RUNNER UP”, and the“2011 RAP KONTRA SIGARILYO 2nd RUNNER UP”. Aside from the major awards, special titles were also accorded to deserving winners. These titles include: the “BEST LYRICS”, the “BEST MUSICALITY”, the “BEST VIDEO” and the “BEST PERFORMANCE”.
The board of judges was composed of musically inclined health workers. The chairmanship of this board was given to the current Bayawan District Hospital Chief, Dr. Sozelun N. Zerrudo. The members include Mr. Joven A. Acabal, Chief Medical technologist of the same hospital and Mrs. Pearl T. Parreño, Provincial Nutritionist- Dietitian.
Just like in any other contests, some emerged so victorious and some were not as victorious. Congratulations to the group of Jhon Rey Tajanlangit of Barangay Maninihon for having bagged the “BEST LYRICS”,” BEST MUSICALITY”, and “BEST VIDEO” awards and for being the champion; also to David Rey Eltanal and groupmates for winning the “BEST PERFORMANCE” and the 1st Runner Up awards; to Rejie Lastiomoso and embers for bringing home the 2nd Runner Up award. And thanks to all those did their part and helped make the event a success.
“CHANGE HOME AIR” STICKER-POSTING FAIR. Change can only happen when learning has taken place. On June 28 and 29 education was brought to communities where cigarettes and smoking-promotive occasions abound- the urban areas of Bayawan City. Intensive IEC’s were conducted in these areas and the gateway towards safer and healthier home air was opened through the distribution of stickers bearing such message as “WELCOME TO OUR NO SMOKING HOME”. It was hoped that the sticker would serve as constant reminder that –again- “Smoking Kills!” and that families, relatives, and friends alike must be guarded from it.
The stickers were distributed only after the IEC’s were done and only upon participant’s request for such, a method intended to retain client’s right to voluntary and informed choice. Hats off to all those who bravely made a stand and chose to grab, post and protect their loved ones thru the stickers!
From the bottom of our hearts, thanks to all those who were conscientious enough to have done their part and somehow supported our health initiatives… More powers!