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PIA Press Release

Urban poor dwellers get attention from Urban HEART project

By Ninfa B Quirante

Catbalogan City (4 August) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH) partner with the Local government unit of Catbalogan City for the project Urban health equity assessment and health equity response (HEART).

In the orientation held today, at the Maqueda Bay Hotel Restaurant, Dr Imelda Ramos, Center for Health and Development (CHD) 08 focal person met with the stakeholders to map out strategies to implement the program.

Urban HEART, said the petite doctor is a tool intended to give policy makers and key stakeholders a guide for healthy initiatives at national and local levels.

It added that the 'tool' is a user-friendly guide to assess and respond to unfair health conditions and inequity.

Ramos in her presentation stated that most often, due to the rapid growth of an urban community, rapid growth of informal settlement is also observed. As humanity flock to the urban centers, housing becomes a major concern that the settlers occupy their own brand of housing that defies health and sanitary conditions.

The problem on health now becomes a major concern of the host government.

"It is not good to deny them, saying they are transient dwellers and are not legitimate residents," Ramos said.

The LGU will just have to deal with them as they pose health problems due to the almost inhuman conditions in their abode, Ramos told the department heads of the city.

Urban HEART with its partners aims to identify the gaps and interventions and promote health equity.

Among those suggested interventions include ensuring adequate water supply for washing and bathing, organizing tobacco-free sports events, initiating clean up campaigns for vector control and trying to prioritize health education for girls.

The project, said Ramos has given benefits to the urban poor in the cities of Ormoc and Tacloban and is aimed to radiate to the cities of Calbayog, Catbalogan, Borongan and Baybay.

The project is part of the 'Healthy City Initiatives' where the city of Catbalogan has 'enrolled' in.

The City Health Office with Dr. Senecia Yong and DOH Representative Joy Nabong is fully supported by a technical working group that will start choosing three urban poor and three urban rich barangays so that they can somehow study and/or analyze the inequities in their access to health facilities and services.

The project will be funded by WHO, DOH and some counterpart from LGU Catbalogan. (PIA-Samar) [top]

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