The Official Publication of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines

NBS ang Sagot! – Happy Feet partners with VYLH-UP Los Baños for NBS Advocacy

Written by  VYLH-Philippines UP Los Baños*
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With the presence of VYLH-Philippines at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, a group of senior BS Development Communication (DevComm) students was inspired to  develop a communication campaign for pregnant mothers of Barangay Mayondon, Los Baños, Laguna. The said communication campaign was part of the requirements in DEVC 180 (Communication Campaigns and Programs).

After being interested to the Newborn Screening Campaign of VYLH-Philippines, six DevComm students in the person of Peter del Rosario, Genie dela Cueva, Claire Anne Diosio, Keerleejohn Estabillo, Arjelyn Jose, and Minji Na asked the assistance of Ms. Gessa Ramos, VYLH-UPLB Coordinator and VYLH Committee Head of The UPLB Genetics Society. Their group, as well as their campaign, was named Happy Feet in order to remind how newborn screening is done and to emphasize that the babies are the real beneficiary of the campaign.

The members of Happy Feet also coordinated with the Municipal Health Office of Los Baños in order to obtain local demographics and records on NBS. The group used this information in order to select the target barangay of the campaign. One of the problems identified by the group and the local health workers was the lack of publicity materials that could have served as the mother’s main source of knowledge about newborn screening. To support this assumption, the group also conducted a survey on the sources of information A total of 39 mothers participated in the home-based and health center based survey. The study found out that health center consultations, NBS leaflets, and television were among the preferred communication channels of the participants. 

The researchers identified that 14.5% of the respondents need motivating and persuading approaches since this group are totally not familiar to NBS and have not tried it. On the other hand, 82.5% on the average pointed out that they were interested in having NBS but where limited to what they about it, hence to require informing and educating approaches in communicating NBS. Their study also identified the differences in the preferred communication channels and unclear aspects of NBS among home visited mothers and health center interviewed mothers.

At present, the written report and campaign materials designed by the group were submitted to VYLH-UP Los Baños for their review. The possibility of implementation will be decided in the coming academic year when the volunteers reconvene and plan for their activities. The development of the communication plan was highly appreciated by local and national officers since it is a useful tool in understanding the nature and needs of the target population. The development of new advocacy communication tools will definitely help in the advancement of the network and its advocacies.

*VYLH-Philippines UP Los Baños is the first network of organizations of VYLH-Philippines. The group was started in February 2009 with four student organizations - The UPLB Microbiological Society, UP Oikos, UP HSPSOC, and The UPLB Genetics Society as the lead convenor. This core group became the facilitators of the Institution and Planning Workshop of VYLH-Philippines. This network of organizations is expected to gather more organizations in the university and its nearby towns, likewise become the focal network for the Southern Tagalog Region.

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