Integrative Medicine in the Philippines

Empowering poor communities to reclaim their right to health is one of hundreds of ways in which Medical Mission Sisters and our Associates around the world try to be a healing presence to others today.

Sister-Doctor Dulce Corazon Velasco serves as Executive Director of Integrative Medicine for Alternative Health Care System (INAM), a non-government organization in the Philippines. Sister explains that in her country, “Many have been deprived of their capacity to choose the kind of healthcare they need because of socio-economic constraints.”

INAM has responded to the needs of the people through education and training using a curriculum composed of: 1) Community Organizing, 2) Training of Community Health Workers, and 3) Training in Management of Community Health Programs.

The community organizers learn to mobilize people in the area into collective action toward the health situation they envision for themselves. Community health workers are taught how to treat common diseases, and to explain to family groups how to recognize the top ten diseases in the area. The health program managers learn to mobilize local resources and work in collaboration with other organizations and agencies to further develop their programs. Each community’s experience is documented and shared.

At the end of 2009, INAM had trained over 600 participants from 42 municipalities in the first level. Of these, nearly 400 went on to become community health workers, and dozens then went on to be managers. Over the past year, the training was expanded into some of the poorest areas in the country. Sister Dolce shares, “Poor and marginalized communities participating in these trainings will be able to generate health services according to their needs and available resources…they will be able to reclaim their right to health and be responsible for the sustainability of their health programs and services.”

June 15, 2011