Thursday, October 25, 2007

Everyday Heroes Who Changed Lives

Life has not been that easy for Isang, a 40 years old housewife who lives in a nipa hut located in a muddy hill in Barangay Bagumbayan, Loboc, a village 29 kilometers away from the capital of Bohol province, Philippines.

Her husband only earns Php150.00 for every 1,000 pieces of coconut he can peel in a day. Food and education expenses for the three children are paid thru this daily income of Isang's husband.

Yet this economic difficulty did not stop Isang from helping those in need, particularly those sick with Tuberculosis ("TB"). She tirelessly walks two (2) kilometers just to visit people with TB symptoms in their village and convinces them to submit their phlegm or sputum to the health center for examination.

Like a doctor, she is on-call and would even visit TB patients at night when they need her. Like a philanthropist, she continuously helps those who are sick even without financial returns because she has a vision for her village – a place free of TB, a disease that killed both her grandfather and uncle.

Isang is a member of the Bagumbayan TB Task Force, a group of TB community volunteers organized by World Vision's Social Mobilization on TB (SMT) Project to assist in finding and curing TB patients. She is only one of the many TB task force members in the country.

The TB Task Force members are not doctors, nurses, or professional health workers. They are ordinary villagers – fishermen, farmers, teachers, housewives, and others – who do something more than ordinary in their lives. They change lives by helping TB patients get cured.

Disability has never been a liability for Perfecto in making a difference in his community.

Perfecto Cacho, 48 years old, met an accident in 1985. His right leg had been amputated after being trapped in his seat inside a jeepney rammed by a delivery truck. But being disabled did not stop him to be productive in life and to do public service.

"I can still walk and I can still talk," he confidently said.

He is currently a purok (village) leader in the village of Burgos, San Antonio, Zambales, a province located in the Western coast of Luzon and also a member of the Burgos Bagong Lakas TB Task Force (Burgos' New Strength TB Task Force)

In the village under his authority, health had always been his priority.

"My first project was to encourage teenagers to stay away from drinking liquor and doing drugs, and to stay fit," he said. As a purok leader, he is always involved in barangay (village) meetings with other leaders. This is where he learned about World Vision and its SMT Project.

"I volunteered in the project because I know this will greatly help in improving the health of the people," he said.

During the 2006 World TB Day commemoration in their municipality, Perfecto ignored the dust and the prickly heat of the sun as he actively helped in distributing flyers and comics to people in the streets and in each house he passed by.

Aided with wooden crutches, he easily maneuvered his way to join in the election-style campaign parade conducted by their task force in the community just to be able to give information on TB prevention and control.

"I will continue to be part of this project as long as I can, as long as I am healthy," he remarked, "I knew a friend who died because of TB."

Perfecto may not be physically perfect with his disability but he is definitely contributing in making his community TB-free.

Since 2003, the SMT project had been mobilizing communities by organizing TB Task forces nationwide to assist the National TB Program in increasing the number of TB cases discovered and cured.

World Vision trains TB task forces to identify people with TB symptoms for referral to public health facilities, to act as treatment partners to TB patients, to conduct health education in villages, and to implement the Directly Observed Treatment Shortcourse (DOTS). World Vision also creates TB and DOTS awareness in the community to increase demand for DOTS services.

At present, there are already 268 TB task forces organized by the project with over one million Filipinos as beneficiaries.
Tags: Tuberculosis, TB, Health, Barangay Bagumbayan, Loboc, Philippines, Burgos, San Antonio, Zambales, Directly Observed Treatment Shortcourse, World Vision, TB Task Force



Blogger sollee said...

to our filipino kababayans who work as volunteers..thank you for inspiring have proven that we can help others regardless of our status in's love of our neighbor that matters most and the willingness to serve others...

25 October, 2007 16:41  
Blogger 3POINT8 said...

Respect Respect~~~
Makes me wonder what they had to go in life to have this kind of loving kindness..

26 October, 2007 09:05  

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