Barangay Health Volunteers

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The Barangay Health Volunteer, also known as Barangay Health Worker, is a category of health care providers in the Philippines. They undergo a basic training program under an accredited government or non-government organization, and render primary care services in the community. They provide services for barangays (neighbourhoods) in areas such as maternal, newborn and child health.[1]

Training and practice[edit]

Barangay Health Workers are accredited to function as such by the local health board in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the Philippines Department of Health, as defined in Sec. 3 of Republic Act No. 7883.[2]

Each volunteer receives about five weeks of training.[1] Barangay Health Workers live in the communities they serve, and act as change agents in their communities. They provide information, education and motivation services for primary health care, maternal and child health, child rights, family planning and nutrition. They may administer immunizations and regular weighing of children. They often assist midwives in providing birthing services.[3]

On average, each Volunteer is expected to work with around 20 families in their community.[1] However the scarcity of trained individuals has narrowed down the number of volunteers, especially in some remote areas, where now one or two volunteers service an entire barangay.

Research[edit]

Research by Fe Espino at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine on dengue prevention in the Philippines shows how community trust of the BHV is vital to the success of behaviour change programs. In 2010, the number of dengue cases in the Philippines rose from 37,101 in 2006 to 118,868. Dengue fever is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes which are born in still water. Due to water shortages, households are forced to store water throughout the year. Espino’s research team engaged the local Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) to introduce a household water container management system to control dengue in 2 communities in "Masagana City" in Metro Manila.[4]

In both village ‘A’ and ‘B’, BHWs were trained to teach households to inspect water containers for immature mosquitoes. An instructional guide was provided along with a container management checklist, collected during monthly visits. The team also provided a video of dengue control techniques. Village A, however, encountered many problems and there was a poor response to the program. In Village B participants reported not only that the visits made residents more aware of dengue control, but they were more inclined to take action. Although behaviour change results have not yet been reported, it appears the difference is that the BHWs in Village B were more active and more trusted by the community.[5] This shows that when engaging change agents, it’s important to understand both how the community feels about them and how they feel about their community.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Red Cross. Philippines: Health. Archived May 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 8 November 2011.
  2. ^ Philipinnes Department of Health. Archived January 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Basics Support for Institutionalizing Child Survival Project. Newborn Health in the Philippines. Arlington, Virginia, June 2004. Accessed 8 November 2011.
  4. ^ Espino, Fe (Dec 2012). "Community-based dengue vector control: experiences in behavior change in Metropolitan Manila, Philippines". Pathogens and Global Health. 106 (8): 455–460. PMC 3541901Freely accessible. PMID 23318237. doi:10.1179/2047773212Y.0000000061. 
  5. ^ Espino, Fe (Dec 2012). "Community-based dengue vector control: experiences in behavior change in Metropolitan Manila, Philippines". Pathogens and Global Health. 106 (8): 455–460. PMC 3541901Freely accessible. PMID 23318237. doi:10.1179/2047773212Y.0000000061. 
  6. ^ Goodwin, Nicholas. "Change agents make residents feel safer about dengue fever in the Philippines". Tulodo. Retrieved 2 July 2014.