© Florian Lems/MSF

Philippines

MSF focuses on improving access to sexual and reproductive healthcare in slums in the capital, Manila.

More than 7,000 islands make up the Philippines, but the bulk of its fast-growing population – now more than 100 million people – lives on just 11 of them.

After recovering from an economic downturn in 2004, the Philippines now ranks as one of the most promising newly-industrialised countries, with its export economy moving away from agriculture to electronics, petroleum and other goods.

Although endowed with many fine beaches and a growing tourism industry, much of the country is mountainous and prone to natural disasters. It is often lashed by typhoons and other storms.

MSF's work in the Philippines in 2018

In the Philippines, Médecins Sans Frontières focused on improving access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for slum dwellers in Manila, and supporting internally displaced people and returnees in post-conflict Mindanao. 

In 2018, we continued to work with Likhaan, a local organisation, to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare in the slums of San Andres and Tondo. Our services are aimed at young women in particular, as they are among the most vulnerable and have significant healthcare needs.

 

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We offer family planning, ante- and postnatal care, management of sexually transmitted infections and screening and treatment for cervical cancer. Although victims of sexual violence are stigmatised in the Philippines, we have seen a steady increase in the number presenting at our clinic for treatment. In addition, our teams operate a mobile clinic four times a week, mainly in Tondo, the capital’s largest and most densely populated slum, to reach patients unable to access the fixed clinic. 

Our teams in Manila conducted 12,400 family planning sessions and screened 3,630 women for cervical cancer over the course of the year. 

In 2018, we also had a team in Marawi city, in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the region with the poorest health indicators in the Philippines, where violent confrontations are frequent. A five-month battle for control of Marawi in 2017 destroyed over 70 per cent of the city’s health facilities and left around 200,000 internally displaced people and returnees without access to basic healthcare. In 2018, we ran a measles vaccination campaign, then focused on water and sanitation needs, building latrines and water access points. In October, we started supporting the outpatient department and emergency room of one of the few remaining health centres in Marawi.

find out more in our international activity report >

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