Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Medical, Surgical and Dental Mission at Las Navas, Northern Samar

The mission was held at the Brgy. Quirino Elementary School grounds, Las Navas, Northern Samar last May 9-12, 2012.

   Last May 9-12, 2012, the Health Empowerment and Action in Leyte and Samar, Inc. (HEALS, Inc.), together with its partner NGO, the Leyte Center for Development, Inc. (LCDE) successfully conducted a Relief Operation and Medical, Surgical and Dental Mission at Brgy. San Miguel and Qurino, Las Navas, Northern Samar. 

       The activity started even before the scheduled actual medical mission with medical rounds last April 30, May 1 and May 3-4, 2012, in Brgys. Imelda, San Francisco and San Miguel of the town of Las Navas, Northern Samar. These are three of the beneficiary-barangays and were visited to be able to give free medical services to patients physically incapable of going during the actual medical mission.  


      During the said activities, we were able to accompany two Belgian medical students, Stefanie and Eva,  who were on their community medicine internship with HEALS and were able to expose them to the sad reality of dismal health services in the countryside.

            The Kilinkang Bayan offered medical, dental and surgical services to nine barangays of the towns of Las Navas and Catubig, Northern Samar. 


       The total number of patients served was around 1,450, 965 of them were served thru free medical consultations, 45 with free surgical services, around 200 with free circumcision services and around 290 with free dental services, most of them have availed of free medicines. 

       In addition, we were able to give short courses on common signs and symptoms, common diseases and their first line treatment, the use of herbal medicines, the judicious use of over-the-counter, western medicines as well as optimized our time by giving health inputs and short training on the taking of vital signs by community health workers in the barangays served. 

         As the first medical professionals to have gone to the area, we are confident that not only have we been able to give medical services that are deemed dole out at best in most medical missions, but that we have established long term effects in the communities in the form of capacity-building, confidence-uplifting health services that would serve the constituents of the beneficiary-barangays still in the days to come.

* Picture credits due to Stefanie Johanns of Belgium. Thanks.

Friday, April 6, 2012

General MacArthur, Eastern Samar

HEALS believes that the best way to be a people's advocate is to learn how they live. Part of its program then is to provide students and professionals the opportunity to integrate with communities. Last November 2011, a doctor and a nurse went to an interior barangay in the town of Gen. MacArthur, Eastern Samar for a two-week immersion. 

 The way to get to the barangay was to walk uphill for about 2-3 hours. At that time, rains from the past days had made the path muddy and wet which made the trek above last 4 hours.

There was no electricity in the community so that the nights were spent huddled around a small lamp telling stories or playing chess.

The people live on crops they planted. Most was on a subsistence level. Only when they have extra harvest do they get to trade their crops during "tabo" or market day.

Farming was primitive. There were no machines or modern method used. 

The community was beautifully situated up a hill away from modern day living. Cellphone signal was difficult. One had to climb another small hill and use a stick to get a message sent. 

The diet consisted of rootcrops harvested from our hosts' farm as staple food, and may include frogs or freshwater shrimps caught during the night. They could be cooked fried or with coconut milk.

 Most of the population are children. The school offers only primary education, that is from Grades I to III. After finishing the three levels, they would either go to the town's central school or stop altogether due to difficulties finding a place to stay during school days or not having someone with them to guide them as their parents had to work in the farm. 

Despite the poverty, the air was fresh, the water from a nearby spring was safe (a water system was set up there by another NGO) and the people generous. 

As way of thanking the community and as part of our contribution to trying to improve their lives, health education on herbal medicines, common signs and symptoms as well as common diseases were given during two-week period. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

About Us


       HEALS was established in 2008 specifically to address the growing health needs of communities in the Eastern Visayas region . The founding members, advocates of community medicine, decided to form a group which would embody the primary health care approach –  affordable, accessible, appropriate, and available health for all. 


   HEALS envisions a society where poverty, hunger, inequity and oppression have been eliminated; a society where basic needs, are recognized in policy and practice as basic rights and not just a privilege of a few. Health care shall be relevant, affordable, accessible and responsive to the needs of the people.  Health shall be a right and a responsibility shared by health workers and the entire citizenry. 


 HEALS shall support and assist village health organizations in the Eastern Visayas region in setting up an alternative, relevant health care system at the community level.


1.  To assist in the formation and establishment of a people-managed health care system at the community level and ensure mechanisms for access to all levels and types of health care services.
2. To uphold health as a human right and promote the physical, mental, and social  well-being of individuals and society.


1.  Organizing and Networking
2.  Advocacy and public information
3.  Education and Training
4.  Provision of basic health services


1.  Village-level Health Care
a.  Basic Health Services and Education
b.  Training of Volunteer Health Workers (health, personal development, management and leadership skills)
c.  Health Organizational Building (Regional Health Network

2.  Direct Health Services
a.  Walk-in Clinic
b.  Referral Network
c. Promotion of Herbal
 and Complementary
d.  Medical missions 

      3.  Community Health Human   Resource Development
        a.  Student Immersion Program
        b.  Pool of Medical Volunteers


4.  Networking
  a. Institutional Partnerships
  b.  Resource Development

5.  Advocacy, Public Information and Research
a.  Data Banking and Information Systems Development
  i.  Health Modules and References
  ii.  Updates on health news, indicators, and policies
b.  Advocacy—Local and International
c.  Research on Community Health/Traditional Medicine