Avec l’aide de travailleurs communautaires, nos équipes ont soutenu la formation d’associations de démanteleurs © Lam Duc Hien

Philippines

206,000

deaths and over 2.8 million health problems in the Philippines can be attributed to environmental factors, according to a study from 2015

15,000

people live in Barangay 775, a densely populated area of mostly informal housing in Manila

69%

of new cases of HIV are in people aged 15-24 and it is the country with the fastest rising rate of HIV cases in the world

A humanitarian emergency in the Philippines

These alarming figures support the provision of humanitarian assistance in the Philippines based on environmental risk reduction.

 

Find out about our humanitarian work in the philippines

A humanitarian mission to the Philippines is needed to respond to multiple issues such as environmental and health risks.

 

Managing environmental risks in Manila

According to the World Bank, a third of people in the Philippines live in informal settlements. Over 778,500 people in the capital currently live in areas that are particularly at risk from disasters, often on low-lying land prone to flooding. Given the unfavourable living conditions, poor waste management and limited access to hygiene and sewage systems, these vulnerable communities face greater exposure to climate-related and health risks. They are often socially excluded and are affected by the lack of a social support system, hazardous living and working conditions, discrimination and isolation. Moreover, the poorest families are not automatically enrolled in PhilHealth, the Filipino health insurance system, meaning they are even more vulnerable if they become ill.

 

Addressing early and unwanted pregnancies: a pillar of our humanitarian work in the Philippines

According to the most recent demographic and health studies in the Philippines, 9% of girls aged between 15 and 19 are pregnant. The highest numbers are found in the region of Metropolitan Manila, with a pregnancy rate of 17.7% among adolescent girls. Many women don’t have access to modern methods of contraception and abortion remains illegal, with no exceptions.

 

HIV – a humanitarian emergency in the Philippines

The Philippines is ranked by UNAIDS as the country with the fastest growing rate of HIV in the world. The region of Metropolitan Manila accounts for 80% of all cases and 69% of new cases are recorded in people aged 15-24.

 

The impact of Covid-19 on the healthcare system in the Philippines

The Covid-19 pandemic has placed additional pressure on a healthcare system that is already depleted. The lockdown and curfew measures imposed by the authorities are among the strictest in the world and have been in place continuously since the first cases were detected on 30 January 2020. The consequences of the pandemic are particularly serious for people living in densely populated urban areas where there is limited access to healthcare and hygiene practices and sewage systems are inadequate. These areas have been identified as ‘high risk’ by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, since they are experiencing a double crisis, both in terms of health and socially. The UN estimates that, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be 751,000 additional unwanted pregnancies in 2020 compared with 2019 and that cases of gender-based violence are set to rise by 20% over the same period.

Coming on top of an already fragile health situation, the Covid-19 pandemic highlights the need for medical assistance in the Philippines.

The importation of electrical and electronic equipment waste is a significant source of income for the Philippines where 45% of the population live on less than $5 a day© Lam Duc Hien
The importation of electrical and electronic equipment waste is a significant source of income for the Philippines where 45% of the population live on less than $5 a day© Lam Duc Hien

Our humanitarian assistance programmes in the Philippines

In response to the humanitarian emergencies in the Philippines, MdM is focusing on specific problems, in particular around waste management and awareness-raising for young women about their sexual health.

 

Tackling environmental risks in Manila

Through the AYOS ! project (‘Let’s go!’ in Tagalog), which was launched in 2018, Médecins du Monde supports community mobilisation and training for volunteers and public officials in Manila’s Barangay 775.

The aim of this humanitarian project in the Philippines is three-fold: improving people’s resilience to frequent disasters, better organisation of waste management and strengthening and prioritising public health. This community-based approach helps to develop a real momentum within communities by giving them the power to take action themselves and influence their environment and their health.

 

Sharing knowledge, preparing for the future – the key to success for our humanitarian mission

By the end of the first phase of the project in December 2020, Médecins du Monde and the 131 AYOS project volunteers had provided disaster risk reduction training to residents and the authorities. The 62 volunteers who had been trained in fire prevention and management organised the first fire emergency response exercise in the history of the barangay and, thanks to this training, six outbreaks of fire were successfully managed during the project period. A real achievement which is testament to the efforts of everyone involved!

Médecins du Monde is also responding to humanitarian emergencies in the Philippines with a number of other missions. Through the efforts of the MdM teams, 14% of households in Barangay 775 have improved their waste management, with the result that a total of 71kg of waste is now recycled in the district every day. They have really risen to the challenge!

Make a donation to the Philippines to support the community

All this work on environmental health, training and disaster preparation proved very useful when Manila was hit by Covid-19 in March 2020. The Médecins du Monde team and the AYOS volunteers were at the forefront in working with the community to contain the virus, helping those infected and reducing the devastating economic and social impacts of the lockdowns and other restrictions.

Extending its response to Zone 84, Médecins du Monde distributed the equivalent of three months’ supply of personal protective equipment to six barangays (including Barangay 775) and over 3,700 households received hygiene kits. MdM also installed 19 hand-washing stations in Barangay 775 and held 43 telemedicine consultations to provide information and advice to residents. Once the emergency response teams were mobilised by the authorities, Médecins du Monde trained over 40 people in the prevention and control of infections such as Covid-19.

The second phase of the AYOS project, anticipated for 2021, will be extended to cover the whole of Manila’s Zone 84.

 

In 2020

through our humanitarian mission in the Philippines:

  • 71kg of waste is recycled in the district every day
  • an urban garden established by the residents has provided a green oasis and yielded 80kg of vegetables
  • 3,700 households received hygiene kits as part of our medical assistance to the Philippines

 

© Meri Bokeira
© Meri Bokeira

A project for young people from Pasay in Metro Manila

In July 2020, Médecins du Monde in the Philippines launched a new humanitarian project in partnership with the organisation CFSI. The aim was to help to safeguard and improve sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the town of Pasay, in Metropolitan Manila.

This three-year humanitarian project is targeted at 2,900 disadvantaged young people in 12 barangays in Pasay. The intention is to create an environment in which more young people access sexual and reproductive health services and there is better access to information. This project is based on three priority areas:

  • Increasing young people’s independence and developing a participative, community approach by establishing a network of peer educators and volunteers (health mediators who can make the link with the community) and health promotion sessions;
  • Strengthening the healthcare system and improving the availability and quality of integrated sexual and reproductive health and HIV services;
  • Developing knowledge through a study of sexual and reproductive health practices in the town of Pasay and the promotion of youth advocacy initiatives.

Since August 2020, Médecins du Monde has been involved in a mapping and investigation exercise to gain greater understanding of the target group and the environments in which the young people and their families live. The focus will then be on training peer educators and the wider network of young volunteers.

This research was also a key component in ensuring the success of medical assistance to the Philippines.

We also supported our partner CFSI with the refurbishment of its clinic in Pasay to improve the range and quality of sexual and reproductive health services provided. MdM then trained six peer educators and developed new handbooks and posters with the aim of raising awareness among young people of the risks of unprotected sex.

 

Emergency humanitarian response to Typhoon Goni

On 1 November 2020, super typhoon Goni hit the Philippines. For 36 hours the most powerful cyclone of 2020 caused torrential rain, violent winds and major landslides. In total 26 people were killed and tens of thousands of Filipinos lost their homes. Of the 25 provinces affected, Albay and Catanduanes suffered 60% of the destruction. Schools, health centres and other public infrastructure were damaged. Access to safe drinking water and sanitary facilities was also compromised, leading to fears of communicable diseases.

In response to this disaster, MdM worked to provide humanitarian assistance to the Philippines, with a particular focus on rapid intervention and help for people who had lost their homes.

 

When humanitarian organisations work together

Médecins du Monde, in partnership with NGOs Humanity & Inclusion and Simon of Cyrene, provided an emergency intervention in the province of Catanduanes. Initially, 700 hygiene kits were distributed to the most vulnerable people in the municipality of Bato, including around 300 pregnant and breastfeeding women. Médecins du Monde then supported two rural healthcare units and four district health posts in the coastal towns of Bato and Baras with medical supplies and drugs, in order to ensure continuity of care for around 12,000 people in the region.

 

 

our institutional support

Budget: €437,000
Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers logo
La Fondation Veolia Environnement soutient Médecins du Monde
French embassy in Philippines logo
Les conséquences sur la santé sont désastreuses © Lam Duc Hien
Les conséquences sur la santé sont désastreuses © Lam Duc Hien
History
1996
Emergency response following Typhoon Rosing in the three provinces of Quezon, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur.
1998
Primary healthcare for isolated populations in the archipelagos of Camotes, Biri, Capul and San Antonio (Northern Samar).
2012
Opening of a pilot programme to reduce health and environmental risks in the informal electrical and electronic waste recycling sector.
2013
Emergency response on the island of Leyte following Typhoon Haiyan.
2014
Conclusion of emergency response.
2016
Scaling up of the health and environmental risk reduction programme.
2017
New programme on the multiple environment-related risks to health.
2018
Exploratory mission for a new sexual and reproductive health programme.
2020
New humanitarian project in partnership with the organisation CFSI to help to safeguard and improve sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people

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