Read more about the inauguration of first culturally-sensitive birthing home in the Philippines.
Site of the Birthing Home
The first culturally-sensitive ALAGA KA Birthing Home is located in Landan, Polomolok, South Cotabato. Barangay Landan is situated at the foot of Mt. Matutum. Blaan tribe predominantly inhabits Landan. Indigenous Peoples (IP) like Blaans are among the most marginalized sectors of the Philippine Society. Aside from the geographic isolation, IPs also encounter cultural isolation, particularly in the areas of health and development.
Landan’s distance from developed areas and Blaans’ unique and unusual tradition have pushed them to the margins where health and development services cannot reach them. Imagine a pregnant woman riding a habal-habal just to get to the nearest health station or a woman giving birth at home due to absence of emergency vehicle, distance of the birthing facility, and/or fear of discrimination.
Initiatives for the Birthing Home
The above scenarios led to HFI’s Steps to Wellness campaign in 2015. The initiative aims is to build the first culturally-sensitive ALAGA KA Birthing Home in Landan. The birthing facility will utilize a Blaan-inspired architecture. In addition to that, a Blaan health professional will man the facility.
Three years later, donors of the Steps to Wellness initiatives, and partnership with Polomolok LGU, Landan BLGU, Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes, and United Architects of the Philippines – SOCSKSARGEN made the ALAGA KA Landan Birthing Home possible.
Inauguration of the Birthing Home
The Inauguration of Landan Birthing Home was held on a full moon of 26 August 2018 at just about sunrise. The program started with a unity and healing welcome dance led by selected Blaan youth. Everybody joined finger to finger forming a circle while the dancers chanted. After the messages from the guests and the signing of deed of donation, the tribal priest started the Blaan traditional blessing with a chant. Everyone followed the spiritual leader around the perimeter of the facility as he whisked water from a bamboo pitcher around the building.
Before entering the birthing facility, guests washed their hands from another bamboo pitcher. As each guest entered the facility, a tribal priestess performed a cleaning ritual using water and a combination of herbs. Tribal spiritual leaders then went into the facility and blessed each room with water from the bamboo pitcher and the herbs. Blaan community dancing with the guests followed. The morning ended with a traditional Blaan breakfast and a Blaan feast later in the morning.
With the birth of the first culturally-sensitive barangay health station in the Philippines, the Landan Birthing Home, 7000 people in Landan have now access to primary health care.
To know more about other ALAGA KA areas, visit this link.
To know updates about ALAGA KA Landan Birthing Home, visit this link.