Meet Monalisa…

Like most mothers, she worries about her children’s health. But for this family, living in a Philippines shantytown, their risk of ill-health is particularly high.Monalisa Malabago - Health Watch

The area is an urban slum, poor and densely crowded, with little access to clean water and sanitation limited to the filthy tidal waters that run under the houses.


When Signpost announced a Health Watch seminar, Monalisa was one of the first to sign up. She says,

“At the time there was a real risk of pandemic flu. I was scared and wanted to do what I could to be prepared.”

For two days the seminar taught participants first aid skills and basic community health practice. Monalisa and other local mothers learned how to take blood pressure, use a nebuliser, weigh babies, take a temperature and sell over the counter medicines at very low cost.

Community Health Volunteer

Armed with their new skills, Monalisa and other local mothers began working as volunteers to augment existing health services, since community doctors and nurses only visit the neighbourhood once a week.

The women charge a nominal fee of 5 Pesos (around 7 pence) to take blood pressure readings.

This helps them save enough money to repair or replace their medical equipment, and to ensure that this valuable medical service can continue long into the future.

“Before Health Watch I could never have imagined myself working to provide medical services in the community!” says Monalisa.

“I love being able to serve my fellow residents,” she says. “Our improved health care services are really changing the quality of our life in this community!”

If you would like to help Signpost International help more people like Monalisa, then please donate here.

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