In the Philippines, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) focused on improving access to sexual and reproductive health care in Manila and supporting internally displaced people and returnees in post-conflict Mindanao.
In 2018, we continued to work with Likhaan, a local organization, to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care in San Andres and Tondo. Our services are aimed at young women in particular, as they are among the most vulnerable and have significant health care needs.
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 stigmatized 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 12,391 family planning sessions and screened 3,629 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 confrontations are frequent. A five-month battle for control of Marawi in 2017 destroyed over 70 percent of the city’s health facilities and left around 200,000 internally displaced people and returnees without access to basic health care. 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 centers in Marawi.