Rice terraces of the Cordillera mountain range in Banaue, Philippines. Photo credit: © 2016 JMM Bimbo Brillo, Courtesy of Photoshare

While the Philippines has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, the country is challenged by a high burden of both communicable and non-communicable disease and an emerging substance abuse problem. URC is pleased to play a key role in working on three USAID-funded programs that support the Philippine government’s health care agenda to improve health indicators countrywide.

USAID recently awarded URC the five-year RenewHealth – Expanding Access to Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation in the Philippines project. The project aims to help those who use drugs, people in recovery, and families of users obtain access to informal care, self-help and/or community-based treatment, and recovery support to reduce or prevent drug dependence.

Working with Philippine counterparts, including the Department of Health, the governmental Dangerous Drugs Board, Department of Interior, and local government, URC will work to ensure that quality community-based drug treatment and care services are available, accessible, affordable, and evidence-based. The project provides a unique opportunity to link drug reduction efforts with the Philippine universal health care bill recently signed into law. URC partners include the Development Academy of the Philippines, Ateneo University, the Philippines Association of Psychologists, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, the World Health Organization, Philippines, and local groups.

URC supports two other USAID-funded activities in the Philippines. TB Platforms for Sustainable Treatment, Detection, and Care (TB Platforms) Project aims to find and cure more TB cases by supporting the Department of Health’s National TB Control Program and local government units to enhance prevention and treatment. Using evidence-based, data-driven approaches and technology, TB Platforms engages changemakers at the individual, community, provincial, and regional levels to promote positive health-seeking and TB prevention behaviors.

The five-year Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for Health (BARMMHealth) activity supports the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to improve access to high quality family planning, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and maternal and child health services. URC efforts focus on improving demand for health services, increasing the supply of high-quality appropriate care, and fostering an enabling environment in which the system can successfully operate.

Much has been achieved to date – URC will continue working with the Philippine government and other partners to move the country toward improved health outcomes.