Is there a (barefoot) doctor in the village?

Non-government organization trains tribal community members on basic healthcare and first aid

posted April 09, 2016 at 06:55 pm
by  Manila Standard Lifestyle
In the hinterlands and hard-to-reach villages, the delivery of basic healthcare services is practically non-existent, with poverty also leaving the people fending for themselves when illness strikes.  

Aware of the situation facing these communities, the Foundation of Our Lady of Peace Mission Inc. (FOLPMI) introduced the Barefoot Doctors Program to train people from the indigenous communities on basic health care and first aid, enabling them to bring health services to the people who need it most.

Since its inception, the Barefoot Doctors Program has successfully helped indigenous people, with the non-government foundation receiving support from such groups as TELUS International Philippines (TIP) Community Board, which provides funding to help train individuals into becoming “barefoot doctors.”

(Third from left) Dr. Jason Abello, Sr. Eva Maamo and TELUS International Philippines corporate social responsibility manager Milette Belen with beneficiaries of the Barefoot Doctor program
The TIP Community Board is the corporate social responsibility foundation of the leading contact center, with the board enabling the company to fulfills its “we give where we live” philosophy by regularly supporting charities centered on youth programs and health and wellness, sports and education, as well as arts and culture.  

Representatives from indigenous communities in Subic, Zambales recently took part in a 14-day workshop where they received basic health care and livelihood education, and became the eighth batch of graduates for the Barefoot Doctors program. The workshop is among the series of short courses offered under the Indigenous Peoples Community Health Workers Training program that aims to educate indigenous communities on primary health practices and reduce ailments and deaths.

The TIP Community Board partnered with the Commission on Indigenous people and the Department of Health for the implementation of the program, with 29 individuals from different indigenous groups across the Philippines became certified as Barefoot Doctors. This means that they would now be able to render first aid and bring much-needed basic health services to sick neighbors and community members. The task includes services to prevent or treat serious health conditions such as tuberculosis, pulmonary disease, dengue and malaria.

“The TELUS International Philippines Community Board supports programs that address the severe lack of access to healthcare for most tribes and groups in the Philippines. Through programs that train Barefoot Doctors, we can contribute to ensuring the welfare of the indigenous community,” said Warren Tait, TIP’s VP for Marketing and Culture.

Dr. Jason Abello, FOLPMI’s primary coordinator for this year’s program, noted the key role that volunteers play in bringing health services to the marginalized sectors, underscoring that health care requires diverse solutions. “Once you teach people about health, you automatically deal with livelihood and nutrition. How would you introduce to them the importance of good nutrition when they don’t have anything to eat? This is why you need to build their livelihood program and community as well,” he noted.

Training volunteers to bring the most basic of services to people in far-flung communities is certainly a good initiative in addressing people’s health concerns – an endeavor  that the TIP Community Board is committed to support.

To apply for TELUS International Philippines Community Board funding, visit or visit 

Topics: TELUS International Philippines , barefoot doctor
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