The Official Publication of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines

VYLH-Philippines Central Visayas welcomes Batch Hiraya

Written by John Paul Oira and Floyd Edrea
Newborn Screening 
May-June 2015 Issue

Reigniting the spirit of youth volunteerism in Central Visayas, the Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH)–Philippines, in collaboration with the Department of Health–Regional Office (DOH-RO) 7 and Newborn Screening Center (NSC)–Visayas, organized this year’s regional youth camp to increase awareness on health issues among the youth and to mobilize youth leaders in the region toward health advocacy work.

This year’s newest breed of volunteers took the name Hiraya, from the Filipino word for “vision,” giving emphasis on the theme “Revolutionizing Health Promotion through Youth Participation.” This was the first time for VYLH to adopt a single Filipino word to name their batch. This was also the first time VYLH opened its doors to public applicants, adding to those who were selected by schools or organizations. A total of 20 applicants were accepted into the camp.

The first batch of Hiraya volunteers were inducted at the VYLH-Philippines Central Visayas Regional Camp in Boljoon, Cebu, on May 22-24, 2015. Students and young professionals from Siquijor, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Bohol, as well as new volunteers from Tacloban City, comprise the 53-member strong batch.

Participants were greeted by camp facilitators at the Cebu Club Fort Med Resort. The camp officially opened on May 22 with GTKY (Getting-to-know-you) activities, camp introduction, messages from regional partners, and a video message from VYLH National Adviser Dr. Carmencita D. Padilla.

Dr. Emmelie Pfleider-Silao, NBS Medical Coordinator, through NBS Nurse Coordinator Mr. Ruff Vincent Valdevieso, presented the Department of Health Programs and DOH-RO 7 Updates on Newborn Screening—one of the three major advocacies of VYLH. It was followed by an orientation on the National Newborn Screening Program by Ms. Yugie Caroline Demegillo, NSC-Visayas Program Manager. Anna Leah Millares, NSC-Visayas ENBS Nurse, presented the Expanded Newborn Screening Program. 

A Social Night and Talent Expo was held in the evening to facilitate campers get acquainted with one another. Spicing up the night was an on-the-spot Mr. and Ms. Social Night, with Zecariah Chito Jumawan and Khem Alvarez as camp heartthrobs.

Serious Business

Day 2 of the camp featured a series of lectures. The first was a talk on how to use the powers of social media responsibly. VYLH-Philippines Vice-President for Visayas John Paul Oira presented “I am Social: Social Media and the Filipino Youth Volunteer” on behalf of the network's National Secretary Zapphire Zamudio. Meanwhile, National Youth Commissioner Jan Paul Peñol exemplified the youth’s power in his talk “The Role of the Youth in Nation Building and Health Promotion.”

Dr. Barbra Charina Cavan, the VYLH-Philippines Cluster Adviser for Visayas, oriented the new volunteers on the other VYLH major advocacy through her talk “Folic Acid Facts,” with a supplementary discussion on the National Birth Defects Surveillance. The third major advocacy was presented to the volunteers through a series of videos from the Philippine Society of Orphan Disorders; Aster Lynn Sur, VYLH-Philippines National Secretariat, showed “Caring for Children with Rare and Orphan Disorders.” VYLH-Philippines National President Christian Emmanuel Enriquez presented the VYLH Progress Report through the years.

After the lectures, the new volunteers underwent “Action-Plan Construction and Youth Mobilization Seminar,” which was followed by the campers’ presentation and feedback from the advisers. Batch Hiraya provincial representatives were also elected.

The camp’s second night featured a series of team-building activities (Amazing Race). The new volunteers were also officially inducted as members of the network through the traditional “Commitment Ritual.” A renewal of commitment was also held for old members. The camp ended with cultural presentations and the “VYLH Camp Awards.”


VYLH-Philippines on the cover of Newborn Screening
VYLH-Philippines started in 2009 with a vision to empower the Filipino youth in becoming agents of change for a healthier Philippines. More than five years later, the network has empowered hundreds of young individuals. Since its inception, VYLH-Philippines has conducted promotional activities on newborn screening, folic acid supplementation, rare diseases, and birth defects through various approaches such as fora, symposia, seminars, radio and TV spots, exhibits, door-to-door campaigns, concerts for a cause, film showing, and distribution of promotional materials in strategic areas. JPOira, FEdrea

To read more articles from the Official Bi-monthly publication of the Newborn Screening Reference Center, download the full issue of 'Newborn Screening' through the following link: May-June 2015 Issue


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