Project Matyag highlights BHWs’ role in disease surveillance
In photo: BHWs demonstrate their disease reporting practices in role-playing exercise on outbreak response 

Barangay health workers (BHWs) from three Rizal municipalities were trained on disease reporting and surveillance last October 18 and 21, 2019 in Tanay and Antipolo City, Rizal, respectively.

Entitled BHW Katuwang Ka!: Ang Kahalagahan ng Pag-uulat ng Sakit sa Ating Komunidad, the training aimed to discuss the roles of BHWs in reporting diseases to the Philippine Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (PIDSR) System and appreciate their significance in safeguarding public health.

With this in mind, RITM Surveillance and Response Unit (SRU) Head Dr. Annabelle Cacho-Sucuano discussed the importance of disease surveillance, the PIDSR disease reporting process, and the BHWs’ significance as disease surveillance frontliners.

SRU Surveillance Nurse June Cantata Corpuz-Carandang then led a role-playing activity in which the participants were given different scenarios that might arise in the community before, during, and after an outbreak for them to demonstrate the disease surveillance functions that they learned in the seminar.

Participants were comprised of BHW presidents of Rizal municipalities Antipolo City, Jala-jala, and Tanay, as well as the BHW chairperson of each municipality’s barangays. The attendees are expected to relay their learnings to the BHWs under their supervision in hopes of an enhanced disease reporting system in the communities.

The first day was attended by BHWs from Tanay and Jala-jala while the second day was participated in by Antipolo City. The aforementioned municipalities served as the pilot project sites of Project Matyag on the basis of their level of compliance to PIDSR reporting, with the addition of Cainta whose BHWs were not able to attend due to conflict in schedule.

This seminar is held in relation to a training on vector control and professional health-seeking for primary healthcare givers held last September 14, 2019 and a seminar-workshop on PIDSR compliance for Rizal’s disease surveillance officers and coordinators, hospital administrators, and health policymakers set on October 22, 2019 both in Antipolo City.

This learning activity is part of the initiatives spearheaded by Project Matyag, an epidemiology communication campaign project initiated by RITM-CEO in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Los Baños Foundation Inc. (UPLBFI) and the UPLB College of Development Communication’s Department of Science Communication, funded by DOH-RITM. Its primary goal is to communicate RITM published research outputs to laypeople, and increase compliance to the disease surveillance system.

by Eunice Brito, Project Matyag, Research Assistant