Understanding the Social Determinants of Health of Minglanilla, Cebu

The day before the medical mission, the NAFCON delegation of 14 U.S. based volunteers met with local advocacy groups representing the interests of fisherfolk in Minglanilla. This was important in order to understand the social determinants of health affecting the community members who would predominantly be the recipients of the medical mission. Organizations such as Pundok-Sa Gop-Kaliguan (PSK), Women Resources Center of Visayas, and Tigil Tambak shared their experiences campaigning against coastal privatization for private and commercial development.

They also discussed environmental injustices endangering livelihoods and housing. Discussions touched upon the deplorable effects of reclamation and quarrying, which involve the extraction of mountain soil to expand land area in the sea for development projects. The “situationer” orientation highlighted the tenacity of local leaders in combating the hegemony exerted by commercial forces and the government entities they influence.

The community leaders then took the opportunity to show the consequences of reclamation to the NAFCON delegates firsthand.  After the orientation, the local inhabitants toured us around the coast. The NAFCON group listened to more accounts of the devastating effects of reclamation on fisherfolk such as destruction of coral reefs, less fishes to catch resulting in less income, and more destructive impacts to their boats and fishing tools when a typhoon hits. One of these speakers was Kuya Vanvan, who wished that he and his fellow people could receive even “one percent” of the financial reaping of these projects.

Afterwards, the NAFCON team traveled to Barangay Calaja-on to visit the site of the medical mission. Prior to setting up the clinic, we walked through a residential community to look at the location of a future reclamation project.  

To close the afternoon, the group split into two to conduct set-up of the community clinic under the guidance of Visayas Primary Healthcare Services.  While half of the team returned to the hotel to finish packing medical supplies, the other half of us remained at the Calaja-on Elementary School to lay out tables and chairs for the following day.  We look forward to serving the 250 patients from the barangay.