Midwife Penny Agod administers her client’s modern family planning method of choice after providing the mother health education and counseling. Penny provides modern family planning methods and counseling in this makeshift health station in one of the small far-flung villages of Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao Province. Photo credit: URC

For some, accessing reproductive health services is difficult, especially in a country such as the Philippines with many remote islands. In these cases, frontline health workers play key roles in ensuring that women receive the family planning and other services they need.

This week – April 3-8, World Health Worker Week – URC is highlighting a few of the dedicated individuals working with the USAID Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for Health (BARMMHealth) Project. Read below about how they are making a difference in women’s lives.

Binhalid Damil

Nurse and midwife, Danapa, Albarka, Basilan Province

RIGHT: Mr. Binhalid Damil provides family planning counseling and explains the methods available to clients at the birthing facility in the village of Danapa, Albarka Town, Basilan Province.

Binhalid is an advocate for family planning (FP) and maternal and child health in Danapa, an isolated village in Basilan Province. Binhalid has dedicated his career to serving women with unmet reproductive health needs. He has contributed to the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity by establishing a birthing facility in 2021 in Danapa Village and providing FP counseling and services to mothers to improve their health-seeking behavior. Working with the USAID BARMMHealth Project, he has successfully handled 64 deliveries and has increased the number of FP acceptors among his patients.

Penny Agod

Midwife, Bulibod, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Province

TOP RIGHT: Penny Agod explains different types of FP methods to a client at a makeshift health station in one of the villages in the town of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Province. By providing information, clients are given the freedom to choose a method.

BOTTOM LEFT: Penny Agod visits a client who has just given birth in a small village in the town of Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao Province. She makes home visits to ensure that the baby receives immunization and that the mother is profiled, recorded, and tracked for post-partum family planning services.

Penny travels several hours, including by boat, to provide FP services to women with unmet needs in far-flung villages in the town of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Province. She visits more than 400 women in their homes because there is no health station in the villages. Working with the USAID BARMMHealth Project, she contributes to safe deliveries and successful shifts to modern FP (mFP) by closely monitoring pregnant mothers and current mFP users while simultaneously administering immunization for infants and children.

Rowena Undug

Midwife, Sulu Province

LEFT: Rowena Undug conducts lectures and trains her peers on modern family planning methods so they can provide information and services to clients who come to health centers for assistance.

RIGHT: Rowena Undug checks supplies at a birthing facility to ensure that it has ample provisions for child deliveries.

Rowena provides her clients with quality FP services despite the challenges she faces every day to reach the farthest communities in the town of Jolo in Sulu Province. Working with the USAID BARMMHealth Project, she does not mind the difficulties as she puts a premium on her clients’ welfare.

As a certified modern FP trainer on progestin sub-dermal implant insertion, she has largely contributed to developing capacities of other health workers in Sulu Province by conducting lectures and supervising 30 health service providers and assisting more than 3,000 women obtain their modern family planning method of choice.

Ridzmie Sahiron​

Midwife and Family Planning coordinator, Rural Health Unit, South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi Province

BOTTOM: Ridzmie Sahiron counsels a mother of eight suffering from post-partum depression and who has never heard of FP before, as she lives in a coastal village in Tawi-Tawi Province, which is far from a health facility.

Ridzmie travels to geographically isolated island communities in the town of South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi Province to provide much-needed health services. Working with the USAID BARMMHealth Project, she helps prevent maternal and infant deaths in her village by reaching out to and assisting women with unmet reproductive health needs. To reach more women, she integrates one-on-one FP counseling and services with other health-related activities, such as child immunization, post-partum monitoring, and COVID-19 vaccinations.

Jomaira Misomala

Midwife, Balindong Rural Health Unit, Lanao del Sur Province

Jomaira Misomala supervises this facility in the town of Balindong, Lanao de Sur Province that caters to adolescents, where they can get the right information on sexual reproductive health and access psychosocial services.

Jomaira supervises the Adolescent Friendly Health Facility in the town of Balindong in Lanao del Sur Province to ensure that teen mothers and other adolescents have access to reproductive health services. Working with the USAID BARMMHealth Project, she provides health information and psychosocial risks assessments to adolescents at the rural health facility and at schools, making sure that at-risk clients are referred and provided cohesive continuum of care.