The MIMAROPA regional health office does not only want to deliver healthcare service to the indigenous communities of Oriental Mindoro, it is also concerned with providing cultural-sensitive healthcare.

Department of Health-MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo Janairo led officials at the kick-off of the "Balay Mangyan Para sa Kaunlaran at Kalusugan" health caravan in San Roque, Oriental Mindoro in late October.

The Mangyan community, who live in one of the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) and whose domicile are mostly concentrated in Mindoro, find it difficult to access primary health services. 

Tribal members mostly suffer from common illnesses such as diarrhoea, skin diseases, vector-borne and infectious diseases, as well as complications of unsafe birthing practices, noted the regional DOH.

The health caravan provided basic health care services as well as informational materials and commodities necessary so members in far-flung communities can cope with their health issues.

Seventy families, composed of 766 individuals, from various Mangyan tribes, came to the medical mission and availed of check-ups, free blood testing and medical screenings. The regional health office also distributed medicines and vitamins, as well as hygiene kits to residents.

Aside from the healthcare services, the health caravan also included the inauguration of a culture-sensitive health center for the Mangyan community.

"Our indigenous communities' concept of health and healing is similar to western modalities but with more emphasis on traditional healing, which plays a significant part in their healing strategies," Director Janairo explained.

The most important is to ensure the sustainability of health care delivery among the indigenous communities in the region, he added.

The Balay Mangyan Health Center is staffed by a nurse and midwives, who are members of indigenous communities themselves, ensuring cultural connectivity and awareness.

As a result, members of the Mangyan tribes felt more at ease flocking to the health center knowing those providing the health services are part of their community. MIMS

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