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Seal of Health Governance: Local Health Leadership Approach as Response from Pandemic to Super Typhoon "Odette"
Municipality of Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte
The municipality of Del Carmen in Surigao del Norte faced immense challenges in delivering public health services to its citizens. As a geographically isolated area prone to natural disasters, maintaining access to healthcare has been a constant struggle. In recent years, Del Carmen endured the double impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and Super Typhoon Odette in late 2021.
Seeking to boost community resilience against such threats, the local government utilized its existing Seal of Health Governance (SOHG) program in 2020. The SOHG fosters health leadership at the barangay level through participatory governance.
The initiative involves 20 barangays that are evaluated based on performance indicators addressing priority health issues. Regular monitoring tracks progress on metrics like facility-based deliveries, malnutrition rates, and sanitation. Barangays that excel receive incentives and recognition to motivate continued efforts.
Providing context around the key performance indicators being used is an important part of understanding how community health leadership and governance initiative is implemented and evaluated on the ground. The Seal of Health Governance in Del Carmen is a model in taking a holistic, data-driven approach to strengthen and sustain local public health systems and resilience.
Since inception, SOHG has proven highly effective. Participating barangays have shown improvements across key health outcomes. Facilities such as Botika sa Barangay (village pharmacies) now provide improved local medicine access. Educational campaigns conducted by youth groups also raised vaccination uptake, with Del Carmen attaining herd immunity against COVID-19 at a 70.25% vaccination rate.
In responding rapidly to crises, SOHG has demonstrated exceptional adaptability. When the pandemic struck, the program expanded operations to support quarantine compliance, contact tracing via mobile apps, and telemedicine services to maintain nonCOVID care. After Typhoon Odette devastated homes and livelihoods in December 2021, SOHG swiftly addressed food security, water access, shelter repairs and nutrition needs.
With systems in place, Del Carmen boasts remarkable results–0% involuntary hunger and crimes related to hunger. There was also no local community transmission because of the strict implementation of ordinances with the support of the Telemed Center Program. Even in a drastic situation, there were 98% no illegal fishing and 100% no mangrove cutting.
SOHG promotes multisectoral collaboration to find innovative solutions. For example, student interns helped hasten vaccinations through social media campaigns countering misinformation. Resorts transformed into alternative workspaces to preserve jobs. Mobile markets ensured barangays’ access to essential goods during lockdowns. Through participatory leadership training, SOHG equips communities to govern their own health resiliently.
SOHG is credited for enabling Del Carmen’s quick recovery. Empowering barangay health stakeholders as co-creators has built program sustainability through local ownership. Ongoing support from partners like provincial government agencies and NGOs further reinforces gains.
The SOHG continues evolving to address emerging needs. Expanded indicators focusing on maternal and child health, nutrition, and pandemic response are underway. Through grassroots collaboration, program replication, and resilience-oriented methods, Del Carmen highlights how coordinated local health leadership can strengthen community recovery from compounding disasters.
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