Community Managed Health Development
In the past, Bustos was beset with poor health care and environmental sanitation, inadequate number of health centers, high population growth, high mortality and morbidity. When a new mayoralty candidate won the elections in 1988, he prioritized health service delivery, himself being a rural physician. He adopted the Primary Health Care (PHC) approach where local folks were made to participate in health development programs through the assistance of barangay health volunteers. Ten years after, the son of the former local chief executive carried on the vision of providing quality health care to his constituents. Now known as the Community Managed Health Development Program, the goal is to provide essential health services that are available, accessible, and affordable at all times and places.
To attract more volunteers and potential leaders, cultural activities are organized. Popularity contests are undertaken for preschoolers, for mothers and even for "lolos" and "lolas." In particular, the very popular Search for School Princess of Nutrition produced a very strong following among teachers, parents and students. Proceeds from this activity were used to build the Children’s Playground known as the Paraiso ng mga Bata and a reading center. Eventually, no money was involved as the winner was judged by presenting the most number of seedlings and fruit bearing trees as well as herbal plants and ornamentals placed in recycled containers. In 1994, there were only 5 health care institutions and there are now 25 of them operating within the municipality. There is 100% immunization and only 3 out of 1,000 children are malnourished against 10 out of 1,000 five years ago. There are 300 health volunteers covering 14 barangays and a number of them have been elected into office. Coupled with strong information, education, motivation and effective marketing, the program generated an overwhelming patronage and support from NGOs, GOs, private individuals, the women sector and the rest of the community.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 1999 Galing Pook Awards.