by John Romeo Dominick Diño (Kabilin)
In the spirit of leadership, youth empowerment and promotion of maternal and child health, I embarked my journey on being an advocate for health in the Philippines.
The Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH) - Philippines conducted its Western Visayas regional camp last April 9-10, 2016 at Bacolod Pavilion Hotel in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. Along with 39 other participants from different civic organizations, I was chosen to represent the Order of Asclepius in this annual event sponsored by the Department of Health and the Newborn Screening Center- Visayas.
|PASSION AND PURPOSE. Youth leaders gather as thet pledge their commitment in doing voluntary services|
on promoting public awareness and mobilizing the Filipino youth for health.
The two-day camp, facilitated by senior members of the VYLH-Philippines coming from different parts of Visayas, aimed to empower the youth in advocating health through all sectors, specifically in the promotion of maternal and child health. This included plenary sessions on important topics such as Updates on Newborn Screening and other DOH Programs by Dr. Renilyn Reyes, Youth, Volunteerism and National Youth Commission Programs by Mr. Val Peter Billones, Essentials of Newborn Screening by Ms. Yugie Caroline Demegillo and Preconception Health and Birth Defect Surveillance by Ms. Aster Lynn Sur.
VYLH-Philippines Pioneer member and fellow Asclepian Dr. Camilie Potato (Batch 34) presented the importance of folic acid in the prevention of neural tube defects. She also introduced the rare disease advocacy of the network by discussing the rights and needs of Filipinos with orphan disorders.
The camp also included team-building activities, a commitment ritual and a planning session for the implementation of future projects and advocacies of the VYLH in Western Visayas.
The Order of Asclepius has been affiliated with the VYLH since its establishment in 2009. Other Asclepians who became part of the advocacy were Dr. Rachel Anne Catague and Dr. Angeli Nicole Portigo, both from Batch 36.
The organization’s efforts did not stop there, as the VYLH-Iloilo Chapter has been handing out informational materials such as brochures, as well as organizing awareness campaigns regarding the Maternal and Child Advocacy of the VYLH.
Last May 7, 2016, I was invited to speak about our advocacies during a Newborn Screening and Folic Acid Supplementation Seminar at King's Kids Student Center in Brgy. Aganan Pavia, Iloilo. VYLH-Iloilo Chapter also actively handed out brochures on Newborn Screening and Folic Acid Supplementation in selected barangays within Iloilo City. Currently, the group is promoting its advocacies via social media in an effort to effectively target the Filipino youth.
Being an Asclepian with the heart for service, my journey in advocating for a healthier Philippines has just begun.
Originally Published in The Ascleplian Voice Vol. 2. No. 25 (July 2016)
The Official Publication of the Order of Asclepius WVSU-CM
John Romeo Dominick Diño is a Nursing graduate of West Visayas State University. Currently, he is a Medicine student of the same university and a member of the Order of Asclepius.