Council for Health and Development (CHD) today expresses firm solidarity with CHESTCORE (Community Health, Education, Services and Trainings in the Cordillera Region), a fellow community-based health program based in Baguio City on the spate of continuous threats and harassments on its staff.
Dr. Eleanor A. Jara, CHD executive director said that their group is outraged by the lack of decisive action of the Aquino government regarding the safety and well-being of Community Health Workers (CHW). “For decades, CHWs risked life and limb to serve communities deprived of public health service,” she said.
Jara added that CHWs give health skills and services such as trainings, first aid, and traditional medicine without expecting anything in return. “Our community-based health programs continue to enjoy massive support from the vulnerable communities that we serve – that is how we thrived and endured countless challenges in our programs’ 38 years of existence,” Jara explained.
The doctor is concerned about how the government tolerates the culture of impunity in the country.
By not doing anything to protect those who protect the marginalized from diseases, the government in effect “encourages perpetrators of human rights violations to continue to prey on CHWs and other health workers” such as in the cases of CHESTCORE staff Milagros Ao-wat, Germelina Cynthia Dacanay and Rosalinda Suyam.
Cases of human rights violations reached its peak during former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term. Various people’s health organizations in the country held Arroyo accountable for the illegal detention and torture of several CHWs and health professionals like the ‘Morong 43’.
CHD is challenging the current administration to order the investigation of human rights violations and reported harassments to CHWs in the Cordillera and other regions.
“Mr. Aquino’s sincerity to protect human rights and ensure people’s access to health remains to be seen. We hope to see the day when no CHW or health professional will never have to think twice in serving far-flung communities just because they fear for their lives and safety,” Jara concluded.
Dr. Eleanor A. Jara
0917-9789297 / (+632) 929-8109
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