By Teng Datu,
Cotabato City Bureau Chief
Cotabato City — The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) received P4-million worth of medical equipment from the international aid agency Oxfam and the European Union (EU).
Justin Morgan, Oxfam country director, formally turned-over to Armm Executive Secretary Atty. Laisa Alamia and Dayang Sangkula Jumaide of the region’s Department of Health the medical assistance on Thursday, July 14.
Morgan said the medical equipment will help improve the delivery of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services to 14 cities and municipalities in the region. Among the items turned over are fetal dopplers, oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, examination tables, delivery tables, and pediatric stethoscopes.
A program funded by EU dubbed Improving Availability of Reproductive Health Services in the Armm (Arches), it seeks to contribute to poverty reduction and improved well-being of the population in the region through better and more equitable access to health services.
The assistance will also help build the capacity of local governments to deliver SRH services. Arches is a joint undertaking between Oxfam and four women’s rights organizations working with local communities in the region namely Al Mujadilah Development Foundation, Inc. in the province of Lanao del Sur; Pinay Kilos in Sulu and Basilan; Tarbilang Foundation Inc., in Tawi-Tawi and United Youth of the Philippines-Women in Maguindanao.
“We believe in the importance of protecting the rights and welfare not only of women but also the families they raise and support, and we recognize that there is a need to ensure that reproductive health services are made available for all, especially for the disadvantaged,” Armm Governor Mujiv Hataman said.
In October 2012, a landmark legislation known as the Reproductive Health Care Act of 2012 for the Armm was signed. It created and established a reproductive healthcare program for families in the region that promotes natural family planning method and focuses on strengthening child healthcare facilities.
“It is in the spirit of upholding the Bangsamoro’s right to health that we welcome and accept with gratitude the medical equipment that Oxfam and their partner organizations are donating to the Armm in order to ensure that local governments can provide better reproductive health services,” Gov. Hataman added.
He also said the regional government is looking forward to continuously working with them towards a healthy Bangsamoro for all the women, children, and their families.