Feature: A health worker's tale
by Sheryll Jane Sanico
Davao City (19 June) -- Some good things never last.
This was what Tessie Cuadra, 44, a Barangay Health Worker (BHW) of Barangay 22-C used to believe in. Tessie has five children. She has been a BHW since 2004.
With a measly income of P1,000 a month, Tessie found it very difficult to make both ends meet for all her five children. Her husband worked as a tricycle driver. Aside from being a BHW, Tessie also makes charcoal and peddles it in their neighborhood to help add to their monthly income.
Her tale began when she lost her mother to breast cancer last year. It was the most painful experience she ever had as a daughter. Tessie had to sacrifice being with her family to be with her mother fulltime.
"Grabe gyud to kalisod nga panahon. Mura ko og nawala sa akoang pamilya. Dili nako masulti kung unsa kasakit kung kuhaon na gyud ang imong mama (It was a struggle. I had to neglect my own family to be with my mother. I cannot explain how hard it was to lose your mother.)," Tessie said with forlorn eyes.
Of all her seven siblings, she was the only one who was there to take care of all her mother's financial and emotional needs.
"Maski unsa kadako ang interes, mo-utang gyud ko para naay ikabayad sa ospital (I did not care how high the interest rate was, I had to borrow money to help pay for my mother's hospital bills)," she added.
With God's grace, Tessie made it through one of the most difficult moments in her life. Her mother passed away in October 2009. She learned to let go and let God. She gathered up all her strength and returned to the most precious people in her life ? her family.
And through 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), her family was able to survive those trying times. Because of the money they got from the program, her children were still able to eat healthily, visit their health centers and attend school regularly.
"Dako kaayo akoang pasalamat sa 4Ps nga niadtong mga panahon nga wala ko sa akong pamilya, anaa ang 4Ps para motabang og puno sa akong kakulangan isip inahan (I am grateful to 4Ps because during those times that I was not there for my family, 4Ps was there to help fill in for my shortcomings as a mother)," Tessie exclaimed.
Other than the perceived changes in the behavior of the mothers towards health and education, 4Ps also brought about development in their community and their families.
"Isip BHW, aduna gyud dako nga kalahian ang nabuhat sa 4Ps. Karon regular na gyud nga naga-bisita ang mga inahan sa health center. Sa akong nakita anaa sa 95% na ang ga-adtoan og health centers kung ikompara sa una (As a BHW, 4Ps has made a significant change. Now with 4Ps, mothers visit their health centers regularly. As I have observed, there has been a 95% increase on the number of people who have availed of the services in the health centers as compared before)," Tessie shared.
The 4Ps is a poverty-reduction strategy of the national government through the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) to help augment the living condition of the poorest families in the country through Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).
The program is focused on the improvement of the health, nutrition and education of children 0 to 14 years old. Presently, the program has 49,899 beneficiaries in Region XI with 3,344 program recipients in Davao City. (DSWD-XI) [top]