It was a year and eight months ago when Super Typhoon Yolanda struck a huge part of Visayas, particularly in Leyte and Eastern Samar. In 2014, after a series of fervent prayers and thorough planning, Medical Ambassadors Phil. Inc. ( MAP) chose Hernani, Eastern Samar to be the recipient of a rehabilitation project, named Project Nehemiah. This project was launched in that same year, with the end goal of rehabilitating and restoring the lives of typhoon survivors- physically, emotionally, psychosocially, and spiritually; equipping the survivors with knowledge, skills, and good values in organizing themselves, leading themselves and others, making decisions, and leading them to a life-changing experience; and helping them to return to their normal way of life, this time resilient, confident, fearless, and with willing hearts to improve their health status and economic condition.
Along with DOH implementation of the WASHE Program, MAP did a comprehensive assessment in May 6-9, 2014 and identified the following priority health-related concerns.
Of the 1940 households, 1272 households have no toilets. To date, the three barangays- Batang, San Miguel, and Conciledes are in need of 332 toilets. Since the rest of the ten barangays were adopted by other NGOs, MAP intends to assist barangay Batang, with 175 households with only 8 toilets.
Poor Water System
Barangay Batang has no source of potable water. A pump well has remained but the water coming out of it is a saltwater. They fetch their drinking water from the nearest barangay which is 3-4 kilometers away from their place. Barangay San Miguel has sources of water but categorized as level 3 (non-potable), which has been existing even before Typhoon Yolanda struck the barangay. The remaining barangays have pump wells also as their water source, but advised to use aquatabs and hyposol.
Absence of Proper Garbage Disposal and Waste Segregation System
Before, the Municipality of Hernani has a dump truck which regularly collects garbage from each of the barangay, but because of Typhoon Yolanda, it was damaged and was never repaired. For now, the community people do not practice proper garbage and proper waste segregation. They dump their wastes and garbage anywhere. Some of them burn the biodegradable ones.
Respiratory and diarrheal problems, lack of health education, poor nutrition, and lack of skills to organize themselves as a community.
As a response to these health-related problems identified more than a year ago, a team from MAP headed to Barangay Batang, Hernani, Eastern Samar last June 15-30, 2015.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
After the 15 days of stay, we will be able to:
- Facilitate /Mobilize at least 10 families constructing their own sanitary toilets
- Conduct a health education on environmental sanitation, emphasizing on proper waste disposal such as build proper sanitary toilets.
- Encourage pastors and church leaders from various churches in Eastern Samar to undergo Church-based Health Education for Lay People ( CB-HELP) though ministry presentation and Primary Healthcare orientation
- Minister both believers and unbelievers in Batang thru small group sharing, sports play, and music fellowship.
PROJECT NEHEMIAH: TOILET CONSTRUCTION AND HEALTH EDUCATION
Criteria was set in selecting recipients of toilet
- Families who are willing to construct their own toilet. MAP will be the one to provide the toilet materials needed.
- Households that are near to each other since two households will be sharing a septic tank with 4 feet width and 8 feet depth. A pattern made of plywood will be created to make sure all households have the same size of septic tanks. Since the materials which will be allotted to each household were already computed, they must see to it that it will be utilized accordingly. However, they will provide for any additional expenses.
- Chosen families will agree on set terms and condition
The above criteria were met by the families participating in building their own toilets.
To reinforce the proper use of toilet, importance of maintaining proper hygiene and cleanliness of the toilet, the team conducted a health education on environmental sanitation. The health teaching was focused on keeping water sources clean, disposing of garbage safely, and using clean and safe toilets. This health education was intentionally designed for toilet beneficiaries to take care of their own toilet which was given emphasis during the discussion. The said event was attended by eight family representatives.
The ten (10) toilet beneficiaries who joined us in this project were Dominador “Kagawad Doming” Campo, Reynaldo Amador, Delia Campo, Evelyn Candiza, Antonio Somook, Jimmy Bantang, Marcelina Bantang, Rosalina Antipolo, Babby Badeo, and Domitreo Bantang.
We thank the Lord for the people who partnered with us to be able to pursue this project for our brethren in Samar. May the Lord continue to use us in serving the communities.