The Challenge Initiative’s (TCI’s) Executive Director, Kojo Lokko, visited the Philippines in November for a learning experience to take a deep dive into the program’s impact at the city level.
During his six-day visit, Lokko visited the cities of San Jose in Nueva Ecjia and Naga in Camarines Sur. He also attended a workshop organized by the Manila Health Department and met with members of the Pasig City Leadership Team.
In San Jose, Nueva Ecija, the city’s health officials showcased the readiness of its rural health units and public hospitals to provide family planning and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) services on a 24/7 basis. Lokko had an opportunity to talk to women and adolescents who directly participated and benefitted from the program. Mayor Mario “Kokoy” Salvador said:
Without TCI, we could have been beset by a larger problem attributed to uncontrolled teenage pregnancy. We thank you for helping us manage our family planning and teenage pregnancy problem here in San Jose City.”
Meanwhile, as a takeaway from his deep dive into Naga City’s initiatives to curb adolescent pregnancies, Lokko underscored the need for health facilities to reach out to everyone, including boys. He ended his talk with the city leadership team by reminding them to prioritize learning from mistakes along the way rather than focusing on perfecting a program. Lokko said:
Push for scaling up. We must build the boat as we sail.”
In the capital of Manila, Lokko commended city officials for embracing data digitization to address adolescent pregnancies and low uptake of family planning services. The local government showcased its Manila Data Analytics and Technology Online Services (ManDATOS) Konsulta Performance Dashboard. Lokko noted:
What you are doing here is giving us the opportunity to visualize family planning data in real-time. Without data, we can’t do our high-impact interventions effectively.”
The dashboard showed health indicators and PhilHealth Konsulta claims submitted by the city’s 44 health centers in real-time. Lokko expressed his admiration for this digitization project, highlighting the pivotal role of political leadership and acknowledging the mayor’s firm support for it.
As the final stop in his trip, Lokko met with Pasig City officials and discussed how they could improve the synergy among local government agencies. He said:
I strongly believe that public health outcomes become better with good program coordination, management and leadership.”
Staying true to its groundbreaking approach, TCI continues to help cities in the Philippines to plan well for improving the health outcomes of women and adolescents in poor urban communities. Under the program, 19 cities in the country are now implementing family planning and AYSRH high-impact interventions.