Japan funds construction of rural health unit in Mt. Province

January 14, 2012 2:03 am 

MANILA, Jan. 13 — Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Mayor Avelino Amangyen of the municipality of Paracelis in Mt. Province signed on Friday the grant contract for the construction of the Rural Health Unit of the Municipality of Paracelis at the Embassy of Japan.

The project, costing US$ 98,418 (approximately P4.3 million), is funded through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).

Paracelis is a second class municipality of Mt. Province with around 25,000 residents as of 2010. Its population is mainly composed of indigenous people belonging to the Gaddang, Balangao and Kalinga tribes who subsist mainly in planting corn and rice. <P>The municipality is 80 kilometers away or two hours travel from Santiago City in Isabela and around 60 kilometers away from Tabuk, Kalinga where private and government-run hospitals and clinics are concentrated.

Due to the distance and the road condition, it is difficult and costly for residents in Paracelis to travel there. They have no choice but consult traditional healers or seek the medical service from the rural health unit (RHU) of the municipality.

However, the existing RHU is in dilapidated condition – its ceilings are breaking off, thus there is always leaking from the roof. The walls and floors also have cracks.

Paracelis is one of the municipalities hardest hit by typhoon "Juan" in 2009 which compounded the already miserable state of the RHU.

Aside from these, the RHU does not have enough space for protecting privacy of patients when consulting doctors.

Moreover, Paracelis shows a high incidence of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia, but the RHU does not have treatment room for such diseases.

With the grant assistance, the municipal government of Paracelis will construct a new building for its RHU. The municipality will also purchase new sets of medical equipment with its own funds.

These measures will improve and upgrade the delivery of medical and health services to its 25,000 residents.

The government of Japan, as the top Official Development Assistance (ODA) donor for the Philippines, launched the GGP in the Philippines in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities.

As of November 2011, 456 grassroots projects funded by GGP –- ranging from roughly P1 million to P4 million –- have been implemented by NGOs, local government units and other non-profit organizations.

The total grant for these projects so far amount to US$ 21,267,500.

Japan believes that this project will not only strengthen friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines but also the existing strategic partnership between the two countries. (PNA) scs/FPV

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