The Official Publication of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines

  • Youth for Health

    VYLH-Philippines is a network of pro-active, service-oriented youth leaders and youth organizations linked by the common interest of volunteerism and public service, to improve birth outcomes through advocacy.

  • Promoting Volunteerism

    VYLH-Philippines is a network of pro-active, service-oriented youth leaders and youth organizations linked by the common interest of volunteerism and public service, to improve birth outcomes through advocacy.

  • A Culture of Concern and Commitment

    VYLH-Philippines is a network of pro-active, service-oriented youth leaders and youth organizations linked by the common interest of volunteerism and public service, to improve birth outcomes through advocacy.

  • Moving towards the Communities

    VYLH-Philippines is a network of pro-active, service-oriented youth leaders and youth organizations linked by the common interest of volunteerism and public service, to improve birth outcomes through advocacy.

  • Glocal and Proud to be Filipino

    VYLH-Philippines is a network of pro-active, service-oriented youth leaders and youth organizations linked by the common interest of volunteerism and public service, to improve birth outcomes through advocacy.

DOH-CAR holds First VYLH Summit for the Cordilleras

2018 marks the ninth year of the Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH)–Philippines, a national network of youth leaders from various organizations in universities and communities in the Philippines. VYLH has been organizing camps since 2009 and has given valuable experience and knowledge in health advocacy to youth leaders. In celebration of this milestone, the DOH-CAR, under the Child Adolescent Health Development Cluster headed by Dr. Virginia L. Narciso, conducted the first Regional VYLH Summit at Maharajah Hotel, Angeles City, Pampanga on June 7-8, 2018.

Attended by 86 participants, including youth leaders, faculty members, and health personnel, the two-day activity aimed to raise awareness of the youth on the different measures to prevent birth defects, mental retardation, and death among infants and children. 

The activities started on the night of June 6 with the introduction of participants and facilitators and with a talent expo. Next day, Dr. Narciso discussed the health situation in the Philippines, programs of the DOH, and updates on various health issues including ENBS at the national and local levels. Dr. Maria Melanie Liberty B. Alcausin talked about ENBS, and Dr. Bernadette Halili-Mendoza, Unit Head of NSC–Central Luzon (NSC-CL), discussed the Rare Disease Act.

Dr. Virginia Narciso (Right) and Dr. Bernadette Halili-Mendoza (Left) Photo: NDelaCruz

For its part, VYLH-Philippines facilitated lectures on birth defects, preconception, health and teenage pregnancy, volunteerism and leadership for health, and folic acid facts. The summit also featured teambuilding activities and the VYLH Rites. The participants enjoyed “The Amazing Race,” which helped them learn more about themselves and realize the importance of teamwork in performing their roles and functions as VYLH members.

On the last night of the program, summit-goers participated in the Cultural Dance Competition, where Ifugao Province bagged the first prize, the University of the Cordilleras got second, and the Abra State Institute of Science and Technology, third.#

Written by Elaine Kia Rosario
Originally Published in Newborn Screening* (May-June 2018)

*Newborn Screening is the Official Bimonthly Publication of the Newborn Screening Reference Center, National Institutes of Health - UP Manila (

A millennial’s perspective: How to become a true VYL?

Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH) Philippines is an initiative made to promote health advocacies that are not necessarily popular to many. Health advocacies such as the importance of newborn screening, public support to children with rare diseases, and folic acid supplementation were introduced and reintroduced to the public for awareness. VYLH is the only youth organization in the Philippines recognized to have supported such advocacies. 

VYLH has been organizing camps since 2009, has produced outstanding results, and has raised dynamic advocates in our country.  In the 2018 camp series of the Visayas cluster, the Negros-Western Visayas camp was the first to be held. And as expected, it helped in shaping the growth and understanding of the fresh young leaders of the advocacies of VYLH. The camp’s goal is not only focused on its organization’s specific activities, but also to the growth and enrichment of the individual volunteers that the organization chose and recruited for its cause.

Young leaders of different interests and fields were gathered in the City of Smiles, Bacolod, last May 18, 2018. Forty-six students from the islands of Panay, Guimaras and Negros (Occidental and Oriental) enthusiastically answered the call for new volunteers. A specific highlight of this camp and the succeeding camps is the honing of health ambassadors in each volunteer as epitomized by the theme, “HAYAW: Fostering Ambassadors of Health.” Hayaw is the Visayan term for rise or emerge, and this is the official batch name of this year’s new volunteers. 

To become a Volunteer Youth Leader (VYL) for health is definitely an honor and privilege, because not everyone who wants to be one can be one, and not everyone is presented with the opportunity. In order to be a VYL, one must go through screening, submit requirements, or be officially selected by their school or organization. VYLH longs for a partner that is loyal, passionate and dedicated - a lifetime partner that is to say. Once a VY, always a VY since may forever sa VYLH (on the advocacies and family side for that matter). No matter the age, the educational background, and interests, we can always say loud and proud that “I am volunteer youth leader for health”. 

“I am volunteer youth leader for health”. That is what one is expected to say when they finish the camp— young, loud and proud. It’s what anyone who heard about the network would dream of saying. A call for volunteers was given, a lot of dynamic youth leaders heard it, but only a few were chosen to be officially called as a volunteer youth leader for health or a "VY". 

The usual stereotypes definitely didn’t exist in VYLH. The organization may have standards on how they pick their new members but your educational attainment, course and interests won’t matter as long as you are one with the cause of giving the public awareness about the advocacies of the network. It was a collective effort of the VYs from different batches that serves as a strong element in keeping the fire alive up until now. 

The usual joke that circulates around the group is the fact that most VYs are unfortunately single (or so we think). Participants of the said camps were bred to love… the advocacies. Maybe they got their priorities mixed up after that. A life of a millennial VY is now about the advocacies of the organization, and adding hugots to any conversation that they are having.

To sum up, here are four points on how to become a true VY (as placed together by a millennial):

1. A true VY is loyal—loyal to its cause.

2. A true VY knows how to trust in their relationship… with their fellow VYs.

3. A true VY is willing to wait. Wait until all the organization’s advocacies are fulfilled.

4. A true VY is prepared to let go… of the brochures that they are distributing because they know by heart the reason for such activity, and that is to educate the community.#

Written by Chloei Mae Libatog (Batch Kabilin)
Cebu City

Chloei is a first year BS Biology student at the University of the Philippines Cebu. 


From trainee to trainor: Keeping the VYLH legacy alive thru Hayaw

The cycle was seemingly never going to end. Burnt out by the extreme requirements and demands in the academe, I felt very exhausted. In the end, all the sleepless nights I experienced were all worth it as I graduated as a senior high school student last March 23, 2018. Then summer came, and I was just recovering from my messed-up body clock. Most of the time, I had nothing to do aside from deciding on what course I am to take for college. This dilemma has got me to ponder as I seek for the right answers. Then I extensively backtracked the days of my life and ask: “What am I fighting for?”

I received a message from Kuya Floyd last May 8, 2018, if I could facilitate the upcoming Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health Philippines (VYLH) Visayas Cluster Camp. I immediately responded with a “yes.” The opportunity to become a camp facilitator brings me back to so many memories when I was a delegate in 2016. I was only seventeen years old with fellow delegates who were older than me. To be back in the VYLH circle had me very ecstatic.

The first camp for the Visayas Cluster was held at Palmas del Mar, Bacolod City, with the theme “Hayaw: Fostering Ambassadors of Health.” The first camp was composed of delegates from Negros, Panay, and Guimaras. Every year, it has been a tradition of VYLH to give a batch name to the delegates. This year, the batch was called “Hayaw,” a Visayan term that means rise.

VYLH has always been an organization full of diverse members. Every volunteer has a unique talent or skill that is of great help to the foundation of the organization in facilitating camps or promoting the different advocacies. As for me, I have produced many posters, infographics, and videos used for the different activities in my school. During the preparations for the camp, I had the privilege of using my experience and creativity to produce most of the infomedia. With this, my energy and hype for the camp started to escalate. 

Most of the facilitators were from my place, Dumaguete City. Although some facilitators came from other parts of the region, planning and preparations were smoothly sailing through the help of social media. The reason why VYLH will never falter is because the organization always keeps in touch with their members regardless of geographical disparity. 

Day One. The delegates arrived early in the morning. Some of them were exhausted after travelling miles away while some were thrilled to know on what is to come on the following days. There was an apparent language barrier between the delegates from Negros Oriental and the rest, yet it was not an avenue for both groups to become strangers with one another. 

As early as the first day, matter has already been instilled to the minds of the delegates. I could remember myself back in my camp, trying to manage myself from falling asleep since we had to travel for many hours. However, due to my excitement and drive to learn that time, I tried my best to be attentive. This time, being a facilitator, listening to the lectures were as fresh as the time I first listened to all of it.

After a series of lectures, the delegates were set to prepare themselves for the most awaited beach-themed “Social’s Night.” The delegates immediately freshened up and transformed into their summer looks.

That spectacular night was spearheaded by Mr. Zechariah Jumawan or Kuya Chito who was a ball of laughter that night. I suddenly saw the need to breathe as he neverendingly pours laughing gas all over the session hall with his spontaneous jokes. Mr. and Ms. VYLH Social’s Night then followed. All delegates, with their colorful beach attire, introduced themselves one by one creatively by saying their names and mottos in life. Given a little time to prepare, all I can say is that all delegates of VYLH never fail to impress. Some of them were very witty while others were very funny.

The delegates per province showcased their talent presentations per group. All of them were spectacular! Back in 2016, my fellow delegates from Negros Oriental had to prepare an instant talent presentation overnight. The diversity within was really evident.

Day Two. Early morning, the delegates attended the morning devotion and did a little stretching off to prepare themselves for the day.

One of the new activities that we did not have during our camp was the Health Ambassador’s Workshop. The delegates in this activity were taught how to explain their advocacies to different people and in different real-life situations. This activity is crucial in gearing them up in the whenever they will be thrown questions and they have to answer it on their own. The dynamics of the camp balances two important elements: fun and learning. VYLH camps never fail to provide both.

The team-building activity was one of the highlights of the camp. Wearing comfortable sports attire, the delegates were set to face the obstacles. Five teams conquered strenuous and mind-boggling challenges that really tested them to work strategically as a team. They managed to handle the language barrier through communicating in Tagalog or in English. Looking at them as a facilitator this time around reminded me of how difficult the challenges were really to accomplish. Mr. Christian Emmanuel Enriquez or Kuya Emman, president of VYLH-Philippines, extracted all the key values the teams could learn from every challenge. The team-building activity was followed by a new version of the commitment ritual inspired by the movie Divergent wherein delegates have to pinch one out of five colors of dye powder. Every color represents a value they wish to commit to the organization. After celebrating as official volunteers, it was pool party time, and ice cream was served!

Day Three. The first day of the delegates as volunteers started very early. Morning devotions and exercises were conducted.

I was assigned to assist Tita Ma-an for her talk on “Rare Disease.” Although I was a facilitator, it was my first time to hear her speak and I could not help but attentively listen to her. The most striking lesson I could not forget from her was the reason why she continuously fought for the children with rare disease: children with rare disease occur only one in a million, but she believes that every one deserves to access quality health care and be given the opportunity for the child to fight in order to live. I really felt her when she uttered those powerful words. When I saw the pictures of her and her patients, it gave me the driving force to be like her one day. It was a very informative talk and really inspirational! Regardless of being a facilitator or a delegate, the learning certainly never stops, I realize.

The cultural presentation is one of the most anticipated events in every camp, which is performed by every provincial group. Intricate and colorful costumes were worn as they showcased skit and dance presentations of their provincial festivals with pride.

The set of activities for the last day were starting to make the facilitators and delegates feel the separation anxiety. Hayaw Circle is a segment on the last day for delegates to write letters to their fellow delegates before leaving to their respective homes. There were many things to write to some, most especially to the people who they bonded with. Certificates were given to the delegates, and also it has been a tradition to give a set of just-for-fun Kalog Awards. Unexpectedly, the recognized delegates were in shock as they were awarded. Furthermore, the most thrilling and breathtaking segment throughout the entire duration of the camp will have to remain a secret among the VYLH circle. The only thing I can say is that once you have attended VYLH camps, you will never ever forget that specific experience.

Looking back. Two years ago, I was proclaimed a new Health Ambassador and found a new family for me to grow and learn. I saw the importance of being a health worker in contributing to nation building. Then, I immediately saw the answer to my hanging question: I am fighting for the betterment of the health care system in the Philippines. The emptiness I felt during summer was fueled during the camp. When I arrived home in Dumaguete City, I immediately enrolled myself at Silliman University College of Nursing in the hopes of becoming one of the inspiring speakers of VYLH-Philippines in the nearest future.

Being a delegate before was a new growth and a discovery for a new avenue to serve. Yet learning never stopped, and as a facilitator, it flourished.

Bags ready and everyone was set to bound for their homes. As a facilitator, I felt very attached to everyone, and I really could feel the separation anxiety. Three days was not long enough, but it sure made us all miss one another, a family and a new one to the official volunteers. It was an emotional good-bye for everyone, but with the burning torch, they hold as they leave will forever keep the organization and its advocacies on the rise—Hayaw!#

Written by Francis Estolloso (Batch Kabilin)
Dumaguete City

Francis is a first year BS Nursing student studying at Siliman University. 


Inside Hayaw: VYLH launches two-part Visayas Cluster Camp

Have you ever been to a place far away but feels like home? Or a place where you can identify yourself with people who know the feeling of being there and have done that? Or maybe being with people who are also advocating a cause worth fighting for? Because once upon a time, I experienced that.

Last May 18-20 in a far away land in the City of Smiles at Palmas Del Mar Resort, gathered a group of confident, enthusiastic, talented, and amazing people across the islands of Panay-Guimaras, and the two provinces of the Negros Islands (Negros Occidental and Oriental). It was such a pleasure meeting new people because you get to know not just their selves but also their culture.

Being chosen as my school’s representative to VYLH-Philippines, I realized that it was a privilege and an honor because not all youth can get this kind of opportunity to be part of this organization advocating for health, and spreading awareness thru volunteerism. The camp opened my mind that this organization does not only accept people in the medical field but it is open to all people who are willing to take the responsibility of being a volunteer youth leader (VYL) for health regardless of race, gender, and profession.

The first day was a little bit off for me because I barely knew the people who I’m going to spend the three-day camp with. But as the hours went by and I started knowing each one of them, it hit me hard upon realizing that I am surrounded by amazing group of people. 

The camp started with a “bang” as we met the people behind VYLH and the facilitators who organized the camp. The young and fresh minds of the campers were filled by listening to the lectures on the VYLH advocacies, and the issues faced by the youth today. Later that evening, the Socials Night was a great opportunity to get to know the other delegates. It also proved that each individual has something to give by showing their talents confidently. 

The next day, the campers started the morning with a devotion and some fun morning exercises. After that, we took our breakfast and went on for more lectures about the advocacies on orphan disorders, and preconception health – the newest VYLH advocacy. The team building activity tested each team's skills, values, and teamwork. After completing the activity together, we were able to understand each other's strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Understanding these is vital not just to the organization but to our community and ourselves, as well. And, this will be crucial in our work as a group in the future. The night culminated with the most important event - setting our commitment as volunteer youth leaders and advocates to the organization and to rest of the country.

The last day of the camp gave mixed emotions to all. The regional cultural presentation showcased the culture and history of each island. This was followed by the Kalog awards and the VYLH “tradition”. Many of us were not ready to say our goodbyes and leave the camp yet, but it was time to go back home.

At this juncture, I would like to thank the whole VYLH-Philippines family, the Department of Health Western Visayas Regional Office, and Newborn Screening Center Visayas for spearheading this once in a lifetime event that changed our outlook in life; for opening our young minds on aspiring greater heights; and for impacting our lives with so much love, positivity, and awareness.

After joining this camp, I realized that I didn’t just gained friends but I found a family worth promising. The camp indeed was full of surprises, laughter and some tears but in the end, it was an experience of a lifetime. The journey and the possibilities is yet to come for each one of us. Definitely, this is just the beginning of an adventure that will last till the end of time - for there is no ending in this story that will still go on until the next generation comes.# 
Hayaw is the Visayan word for rise or emerge. The second part of the Visayas Cluster Camp that will serve Central and Eastern Visayas is scheduled on August 2018 in Cebu. 

Written by Karl Scott Bañares (Batch Hayaw)
Iloilo City

Karl Scott Banares is a BS Pharmacy student at University of San Agustin in Iloilo City.


DOH-RO CAR develops NBS Flipchart

To develop a communication tool promoting ENBS (Expanded Newborn Sceeening) to women of reproductive age and other stakeholders in the communities, the DOH-RO CAR conducted a workshop that would create an NBS flipchart at the Regional Training Center, DOH Regional Office (DOH RO) CAR Office, Baguio City on November 21-22, 2017. Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health-Philippines (VYLH) members from different schools and representatives from professional health organizations, Newborn Screning Center - Central Luzon (NSC-CL), and the Newborn Screening Reference Center (NSRC-NIH, UP Manila) also took part in the workshop.

Workshop attendees worked in teams to discuss the content and design of the flipchart. Finally, the participants agreed to use illustrations and infographics, which would be easier for the target audience to understand. They also drafted recommended texts that will serve as guide for lecturers and recommended a training program so that both health workers and users will be able to hold effective sessions in Ilocano or any language the audience is most familiar with.The flipchart will cover frequently asked questions on ENBS and a few issues that influence women’s access to the program. The launch of the NBS flipchart is set in the middle of the

Seated from left to right: Lilia Dado, IMAP Regional President, Baguio Chapter; Florenz Nastor, LTFU Nurse, CAR; Dr. Virginia Narciso, CAHDC Cluster Head; Vina Mendoza, PDO IV, NSRC; Don Santos, Nurse III, NSCCL; and Kia Rosario, Regional NBS Nurse Coordinator. 
Standing from left to right: Jeminah Blanco, VYLH-Abra; Florita Sacgaca, Clinical Instructor; XiJEN - Mt. Province; Jun Palomares, VYLH-Abra; Brenda Satur, Regional President, PLGPMI; Jomar Durdal, VYLH-Kalinga Chairman; Glenda Palomado, VYLH-Kalinga; and Jocelyn Paltiyan, VYLH-Benguet.

Originally published in Newborn Screening 
The bimonthly publication of NSRC-NIH, UP Manila
November - December 2017 Issue 
Written by Dr. Virginia Narciso


Project Launch: Philippine Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening Project

Congenital heart disease occurs in 9 every 1,000 live births worldwide. Undetected, it can lead to approximately one quarter (2-3 out of 1,000) of these children developing CRITICAL CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE (CCHD), which requires surgery or catheter intervention in the first year of life.

Despite the increasing use of prenatal diagnosis and routine newborn examination, a significant proportion of affected newborns are still not diagnosed before discharge after birth. Since CCHD accounts for nearly 3% of infant mortality during the first year of life and affects between 7 and 9 of every 1,000 newborns, early detection can be life-saving and limit brain damage.

One way to detect early CCHD is PULSE OXIMETRY SCREENING (POS)—an effective, non-invasive, inexpensive tool. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends POS to be added to newborn screening (NBS). In fact, AAP has published strategies for the implementation of
pulse oximetry screening, which addressed critical issues such as necessary equipment, personnel, and training, and also provided specific recommendations for assessment of saturation by using pulse oximetry as well as appropriate management of a positive screening result.

In the Philippines, CCHD screening thru pulse oximetry is not yet a routine part of newborn care. There are currently no laws requiring CCHD screening prior to hospital discharge. However, several medical centers in Metro Manila have adopted this policy as part of their program based on published data abroad.

To address this lack, the Newborn Screening Reference Center (NSRC) of the UP Manila National Institutes of Health (UPM-NIH) has organized a group of hospitals to participate in a pilot study, entitled, “THE PHILIPPINE MULTICENTER PULSE OXIMETRY SCREENING FOR CRITICAL CONGENITAL HEART DISEASES.” It will run from March 2018 till the last week of February 2019.

The general aim of the study is to provide data on the utilization of POS as a screening tool in detecting neonates at risk of having critical congenital heart disease. Specifically, it will address three concerns: (1) To determine the prevalence of CCHD as confirmed by 2-dimensional echocardiography; (2) to specify the diagnosis of identified CCHD using 2-dimensional echocardiography; and, (3) to determine the outcome of neonates identified with CCHD. The provided data will be the basis of future policies on the inclusion of POS in the National Comprehensive Newborn Screening Policy.

The principal investigator is Dr. Jose Jonas Del Rosario. The co-investigators are Dr. Carmencita David-Padilla and Dr. Maria Melanie Liberty Alcausin. 

The list of the participating hospitals are: Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Cebu Maternity Hospital, Chinese General Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Philippine General Hospital, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, and Zamboanga City Medical Center.#

University of the Philippines Manila
National Institutes of Health
Newborn Screening Reference Center

Photos: VMendoza, MJTumulak


Palauig SHS students join VYLH-Philippines thru K4Health

PALAUIG, ZAMBALES - The Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health-Philippines conducted its third implementation of K4Health (Kabataan for Health) at Rofulo M. Landa High School in Palauig, Zambales from July 28-30.

The three-day training camp was done in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Palauig, Zambales. It was organized to mobilize the youth to be advocates for a healthier Philippines. After the training, the new volunteers will be under the supervision of the local health office. 

The event facilitated by eight members of The UPLB Genetics Society was participated by 26 senior high school students from two different schools namely: Locloc National High School and Rofulo M. Landa High School. They were also joined by their Supreme Student Government advisers and teachers.

Palauig DTTB Dr. Trisha Torga
The Palauig installment of K4Health differs from the previous implementations in Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija (2016) and Calapan, Oriental Mindoro (2017) with the inclusion of non-communicable disease prevention and teenage pregnancy prevention among the advocacies to be promoted by the student volunteers. These advocacies were suggested by Rural Health Physician and Doctor-to-the-Barrio (DTTB) Dr. Trisha Torga in consideration of the health statistics of the municipality. 

With these in mind, lectures on community health and development, teenage pregnancy, non-communicable diseases and volunteerism were given on the first day. Furthermore, lectures about preconception health and VYLH-Philippines advocacies namely folic acid awareness and newborn screening were taught on the second day. Through a role playing activity, groups were also tasked to show the possible real-life scenarios related to the advocacies supported by K4Health.

The newly inducted facis and youth volunteers were added to the roster of members under VYLH-Philippines Batch Kalilintad, the Maranao term meaning ‘peace’. 

On the last day of the training camp, an advocacy demonstration and slogan presentation of their assigned topic was done by each group as an evaluation of their knowledge and their ability on imparting these knowledge to others. Constructive criticism and review of their performance was also provided for each group presentation. Afterwards, the elections of officers of VYLH-Philippines K4Health Palauig was done with Rhenelyn Escoball of Locloc National High School elected as the President.

Some parents were also invited during the program and they were introduced to the network's advocacies through a small group discussion. Dr. Trisha Torga shared the services of the Municipal Health Offices.

The program ended with a closing remarks from The UPLB Genetics Society’s VYLH-Philippines Committee Head Mr. Joshua Hernandez saying, “Alam kong hindi niyo masasaulo in three days lahat ng tinuro namin. Ang gusto kong matutunan niyo yung sa tingin niyo naimpart namin yung advocacies at halaga nito yung kahit in your own words kaya niyong i-explain sa kapwa kabataan niyo.” (I know that you would not be able to remember within those three days everything that we have thought. But what I want all of you to learn are the advocacies at their essence which you can explain to other youths when put in your own words).

GeneSoc's VYLH-Philippines Committee Head
Joshua Hernandez
Written by Andrea Kariza Formantes (Batch Kabilin)
The UPLB Genetics Society

Team Proactive Kabilin, GeneSoc conduct “Araw ng Kabilin” for LB Nanays

LOS BANOS, LAGUNA - With a strong motivation to educate the women of Los Baños about preconception health, The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc), as one of the member youth organizations of Team Proactive Kabilin, spearheaded “Araw ng Kabilin”, a preconception health fair held at the Municipal Hall of Los Baños, Laguna on July 20, 2017 (Thursday).

The “Araw ng Kabilin” is the culminating activity of Project Kabilin Kalusugan para sa LB Nanays, a youth-led initiative carried out by Team Proactive Kabilin and VYLH-Philippines, which seeks to promote public awareness on the importance of preconception health. The project drew inspiration from the absence of a preconception health program in the country. 

Project Kabilin Kalusugan is also the first community-based preconception health promotion program in the country.

Fourteen barangay health wokers who were previously trained by the team and 19 "nanays" from Brgy. Mayondon, the partner community of the project and other barangays of Los Baños attended the preconception fair. 

Project Kabilin Kalusugan is one of the finalists for the Ideas Positive (Run 7), a national competition organized by the Unilab Foundation which aims to stimulate and support youth projects that help solve public health concerns found in the community.

“Araw ng Kabilin” was launched alongside the observance of National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week which happened from July 19-23 of this year.

The term “Kabilin” is a Visayan term which means pamana or legacy. Combined with the term “Proactive”, it connotes that there is a need to safeguard and boost preconception health because it will soon have an impact on their health and their children. In addition to promoting informed and healthy choices, preconception health is important in the prevention of birth defects and pre-term births which can lead to infant death or long-term disabilities.

During the health fair, lectures were conducted regarding preconception health, importance of folic acid supplementation, newborn screening, and PhilHealth. The municipal health officer of Los Baños, Dr. Alvin Isidioro, graced the event and gave a message to the participants and project implementers.

The lecture on preconception health (PH) was given by Ms. Aster Lynn Sur, a registered nurse and Project Development Officer at the Institute of Human Genetics, National Institutes of Health - University of the Philippines Manila. Her talk delved into different scopes of PH such as preterm births, birth defects, and the LINC framework. 

LINC stands for healthy Lifestyle, Infection prevention, good Nutrition and Contraception or planning the family. The LINC or the four main aspects of preconception care was also used as the framework of the preconception health education sessions conducted in the community.

Preconception Health. Ms. Aster Lynn discussing the importance of having a good health before pregnancy.
Meanwhile, DOH NBS Program Nurse Coordinator for CALABARZON sir Jose Antonio Yap presented the second lecture which focused on the Newborn Screening Program (NBS). 

NBS is a medical program mandated by law under Republic Act 9288. It allows for the detection of some metabolic disorders that a newborn child could have. 

Mr. Yap, during his lecture, mentioned that newborn screening is very essential that it needs to be carried out 24 hours after birth.

Detecting Disorders. Mr. Jose Antonio Yap talks about the significance of Newborn Screening in newly-born infants.

He also underscored the six common metabolic disorders included in the basic NBS test namely: Congenital Hypothyroidism (CH), Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), Galactosemia (GAL), Phenylketonuria (PKU), G6PD Deficiency (G6PDD), and Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD). Aside from these six, 22 other disorders could also be detected through the expanded newborn screening test.

For the last lecture, Ms. Nancy L. Reyes, a representative of PhilHealth-Calamba, discussed the benefits and importance of being a member of PhilHealth. 

Ms. Reyes enumerated the in-patient benefits, out-patient benefits and Z-benefit package provided by PhilHealth. The Z benefits refer to those which can be availed for serious diseases or health conditions that require expensive treatment and medicine.

Insured Healthcare. Ms. Nancy L. Reyes speaking about the benefits that can be availed by being a PhilHealth member.
Besides these lectures, free-HIV testing was also conducted through the help of medical volunteers from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. The participants also received brochures on the topics discussed. Personal hygiene kits were also distributed as part of the campaign to promote infection prevention and health care.

The program was organized by Team Proactive Kabilin which is composed of the following VYLH-Philippines Los Baños Chapter members: Jeanne Ruth Basas (Philippine Association of Nutrition Alpha Omega Chapter/PAN-AO), Manette Perez (PAN-AO), Joshua Hernandez (GeneSoc), Jedidiah Sarmiento (UP Community Broadcasters Society) and Angelica Obrador (Rotaract Club of Los Banos).

The team conducted the fair with the support of one of its partner organizations, The UPLB Genetics Society and following project partners: the Office of the Mayor, Municipal Health Office, Barangay Mayondon, Institute of Human Genetics, NIH-UP Manila, UP Los Banos Office of Student Affairs, and Ideas Positive of Unilab Foundation.

Written by Sean Santos (UPLB GeneSoc)
Originally published in GENEWS
The Official Publication of The UPLB Genetics Society

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