Ginaha (Sweetheart Project): Improving Health Outcomes Through Community Empowerment of Indigent Hypertensive and Diabetic Patients of Baranggay San Isidro Village, Virac, Catanduanes”
The Bridging Leadership Workshop produced 16 projects. The Ginaha (Sweetheart Project) is one of the projects that will receive assistance from the Foundation in its search for partners.
This is a significant program as it aims to create a model for empowering partners (such as the Rural Health Workers) in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA). One characteristic of GIDA is the limited access to health facilities and services. Often, the scarcity or absence of doctors in these areas impedes the patient’s ability to receive treatment. Thus, residents are less likely to achieve quality healthcare services, often leading to disease progression and even mortality.
According to the preliminary report released by Philippine Statistics Authority last March 29, 2022, Diabetes Mellitus and Hypertension are among the top ten primary causes of death in the country. These are lifestyle-related diseases and are classified under non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which means that these are chronic conditions that are not contagious to others.
The consequences of untreated Diabetes and Hypertension negatively affect the health and productivity of patients and the nation’s healthcare system. Uncontrolled diabetes can result in debilitating complications, including heart disease, nerve damage, blindness, renal failure, amputations, and even death. And the life-threatening consequences of untreated hypertension include heart attack, stroke, heart failure, renal illness or failure, and loss of vision. In fact, the Annual Hospital Statistical Report of Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) from 2019 to 2021 states that complications from uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes were among the top 5 leading causes of morbidity and mortality.
The GINAHA (SWEETHEART PROJECT) was conceptualized as a measure to prevent serious disability and mortality among diabetic and hypertensive patients. This initiative would involve multiple stakeholders, including the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), Philippine College of Physicians Foundation, Inc. (PCPF), local government unit (LGU), and non-government organizations (NGO).
The vision of the project is to empower the Barangay Health Worker (BHW) to actively screen, monitor, and manage diabetic and hypertensive participants. This will be accomplished by providing lectures, orientations, and training to the BHWs.
The project will be conducted among residents of Barangay San Isidro Village, Virac, Catanduanes, which contains a relocation site with an estimated population of over 150 families. Due to the low number of PCP doctors in this area, it was determined that this was a favorable location to conduct the project.
After a year of monitoring, the information acquired will be combined to establish a database of diabetic and hypertensive patients in Barangay San Isidro. This database will lay the foundation for future research by providing information on the diabetes and hypertension management program, the number of patients referred to the provincial hospital, and the patient’s treatment compliance. Eventually, this can serve as a model for addressing health challenges in other geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in the Philippines.