CPR on Wings & Wheels shares early Christmas Joy

Scores 4,623 participants

ILOILO CITY, Iloilo December 4, 2016 – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.IMG 1825Holiday staples – giant Christmas trees, garlands, balls, lights, lanterns – that deck the major arteries, windows and porches of establishments, halls, homes, yards and garden areas; the nippy air and moderate to heavy vehicular traffic and human traffic in malls and tiangge, remind you that it is 20 days before Christmas.

According to the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), the Holiday season is a good time to convey these very important reminders:

1. During reunions, revel and rest, let us renew and/or reinforce our resolve to pamper our earthly bodies. Don’t overwork your heart.

2. During the season of indulgence and merriment when everyone least expects it, cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Brace yourselves.

3. Learn preventive cardiology. Even if food and drinks are boundless, practice moderation in your diet. Even if parties are seamless, don’t make a fully-booked calendar an excuse not to exercise.

4. Save a life. Learn CPR. Administering prompt hands-only CPR or 100-120 chest compressions per minute on a cardiac arrest victim will bring him/her back to life and increase the victim’s chance of survival by 33 percent. You buy time while waiting for the ambulance. Early recognition and resuscitation prevents irreparable brain impairment. Seventy percent of cardiac arrest cases happen at home and in public places, and in most cases, happens in the presence of a loved one, who unfortunately, does not know how to do event basic CPR.

In the continued effort to gear up the country towards an all-encompassing, all-inclusive safety and survival platform, the PHA is turning CPR into a panoptic course providing accessible CPR tools to tourist establishments, municipalities and Barangay Health Workers (BHW).
Cases of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) as well as drownings that were not properly addressed have been reported. Most tourist facilities are disaster-ready but not exactly CPR-equipped.

IMG 1881PHA NCR and Western Visayas Panay (WVP) Chapter saw the relevance of equipping Iloilo’s tourism industry hands and the BHWs. There is an urgent need to beef up the emergency/disaster delivery system of tourist destinations with CPR skills via the CPR on Wheels & Wings, a component of the CPR-Ready Philippine Campaign, on December 3-4, 2016 in Mandurriao, Iloilo City and in Guimbal (District 1) and Banate (Districts 4 and 5), Iloilo.
PHA Manila and WVP, the Department of Tourism (DOT), Pag-IBIG Fund and Iloilo District 1, 4 and 5 pooled their resources to stage a highly successful event. The half-day trainings were held at at the Guimbal Gym in Guimbal on December 3, 2016,1-5pm; and Banate Gym for the BHWs on December 4, 2016, 8-12nn and Barotac Nuevo on December 4, 2016.


In attendance were 4,623 participants. Of this figure, 4,513 are BHWs, while 110 are tourism industry frontliners and stakeholders.

During execution, participants were called out by municipality to perform CPR on mannequins laid out at the center under the instruction and guidance of PHA chapter doctors and interns from the Iloilo Mission Hospital, Western Visayas University Medical College and Iloilo Doctors’ Hospital.

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Despite issues with language barriers, the BHWs were notably hanging onto each word of the lecture and even took down notes – and were all able to follow suit with instructions and properly perform CPR.

First stop: Mandurriao
Heart emergency tools for tourism sector
The first leg of the campaign was Mandurriao. The DOT staff, hotel/resort front liners, staff and support service workers travel agents and tour guides from Iloilo, Guimaras and Bacolod were trained on December 3 from 8am to 12nn at The Venue Complex, Glicerio Pison Avenue in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

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A top tourist and convention destination, construction in its commercial and industrial zones has boomed in the past years. Due to progression and migration, Iloilo has its share of traffic woes.
Iloilo is the jump-off point to Guimaras and is two hours away from Bacolod City by boat. For the past years, the Iloilo International Airport has been serving direct flights from Hong Kong and Singapore.

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The ‘Ber months is the best period to spread CPR education and empowerment around the country. “Actually, September to February are high season for tourists arrivals,” according to Atty. Helen Catalbas, DOT Region 6 Director. She led the group composed of DOT officers, staff tour operators and guides, drivers/conductors and waiters of DOT-accredited establishments and staff of local climbing venture parks.

Catalbas added “We all readily welcomed the partnership with PHA. This particular training is a first for the tourism industry in Region 6. We must love this life-saving activity and skills for, if we are not alive, we are not capable of loving our community. I invite you to please focus on the skills to be demonstrated to save our lives, our loved ones, clients and neighbors, in the same way that we have invested time, money effort and talent here.”

PHA President Dr. Raul Lapitan said “on the priority list are places with high influx of visitors. We are doing the CPR on Wheels & Wings run from Ilocos down to Davao. Actually, we have been doing CPR trainings in Manila and we have been roving around the country to teach CPR in hospital training institutions, government agencies, etc.”

Dr. Francis Lavapie, PHA Council on CPR chair clarified that “CPR should only be performed on arrested patients or unconscious victims”, and enumerated the signs of such a person who should, thus, be given CPR. He also addressed the audience’s concern in these situations where lines are often blurred between civilian assistance and the authorities, to which Lavapie stated that “as long as there is proper coordination between the two parties and you introduce yourself as someone who knows CPR, there should not be an issue. We have yet to propose something legislatively regarding delineation of functions among authorities and civilians in medical emergencies, but at the moment, this is exactly why we also reach out and teach CPR to traffic and other road marshals and policemen.”

Practice makes perfect. “Even heart doctors and trained advanced cardiac life support providers are required to meet up every two years for knowledge training and continuing medical education, to be deployed around the country,” says Lavapie.

In one of the lecturers, Lavapie stressed the essence of time, early intervention and how crucial recognition is, as he related how he saved the life of a drowning victim in a Palawan resort years back. With the help of two boatmen, who called his attention about the drowning incident, he did CPR on a boat.

Indeed the highly interactive session was aimed at “equipping and empowering Panay’s tourism industry workforce. Being the the most exposed to these cases, they could be lifesavers by giving the SCD and/or drowning victim a new lease on life,” said PHA WVP Chapter President Rhodalyn Besañes-Almeñana.

The training also became an interactive session as the participants were able to give out reflections in relation to the procedural instructions and inquiring on how to go about certain circumstances that would involve technical difficulties in providing CPR that bar immediate response.

Multi-sectors link up for a cause
The PHA Manila team was composed of Drs. Raul Lapitan, president; Francis Lavapie, CPR Council chair; and Don Robespierre Reyes, The Heart News & Views editor in chief and member of the CPR Council; secretariat: Gina Capili-Inciong, executive director; Gynna Gagelonia, MRO/THNV managing editor; Irene Alejo, Chapter coordinator; Maureen Gonzales, writer and Ronaldo “Ning”Grande, lay CPR trainer.

The two-day event covered three specific township locations in the province, namely, Mandurriao, Guimbal and Banate, where the PHA team, lead by Drs. Lapitan, Lavapie, PHA-WVP Chapter President Dr. Besanes-Almeñana, THNV Editor in Chief Dr. Reyes, and PHA staffers, conducted the training series.

Chapter Members present were past presidents of WVP Chapter Drs. Filberto Dianco, Lavermie Jacobo, Lucita Jalbuena, Matias Apistar, Geoffrey Adelantar, Ma. Sylvia Theresa De Pili, et al,. The same group also attended the December 1-2 Training the Trainers before taking part in the hands-only training for the lay, while Jan Brian Peniero of Servier and Dr. JG Padojinog graced each training location as the program emcees.

Second stop: GUIMBAL
Early bird BHWs
The Guimbal Covered Gym in Guimbal which is 32km from Iloilo City, was the convergence point of BHWs from Miagao, Igbaras, Tubungan, Guimal, Tigbauan, Oton and San Joaquin towns.

As early as 8am, 1,577 BHWs trooped to the venue. Marina Imperial, Provincial BHW coordinator of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, took charge of gathering the BHWs in Guimbal and Banate.

In the vernacular, Dr. Geoffrey Adelantar introduced the audience to the PHA Mission and Vision, defined the purpose of the training event and the benefits of being CPR-savvy because most heart attacks and SCD occur outside hospitals.

Lavapie further lectured on cardiovascular disease, its development and the CPR technique. “Fifty percent of deaths are caused by SCD. Seventy percent of them happen at home, while only 10% of patients come out of hospitals alive,” he further warned.

“The lungs and the heart are the vital organs concerned in performing CPR,” Reyes explained, pointing to the terms “cardio” and “pulmonary” within CPR. “Performing CPR and reviving a person significantly means helping the heart pump blood again to the brain and other parts of the body and breathing or letting air into the lungs.”

Adelantar noted that “CPR is most important especially to loved ones as we can only do so much during cardiac arrest situations due to time constraints. But when CPR is performed, it helps us succeed in reviving patients”.

At the second hop of the campaign, the level of involvement went all out with participants ranging from government personnel, utility men and the Local Government Unit workforce to local politicians in giving support to the campaign and reinforcing the value of PHA’s advocacy.

Third stop: Banate
Female-dominated training
The coastal municipality of Banate was the main setting of Day 2 of the CPR-Iloilo tour. The morning participants came from the 4th District's seven towns and one city -- Banate, San Enrique, Dumangas, Barotac Nuevo, Dingle, Anila, Duenas and Passi City, numbering 2,059.

Banate City Mayor Carlos Cabangal honored the event and accompanied the panel of PHA-WVP Chapter doctors in giving support to the program and recognizing the participation of the BHWs.
Provincial Health Officer II Dr. Patricia Grace Trabado formally deduced the cooperation of the Iloilo Provincial Health Office with the PHA through their collaboration in gathering and committing all BHWs present in the training.

Reyes led the lecture and instructional session that included a clear description and classification of a heart undergoing arrest. Accordingly, a person having a heart attack feels “pain in the chest that may radiate toward the shoulders and may be accompanied by heavy sweating, difficulty breathing and speaking and facial discoloration,” which are the common signs of cardiac arrest.

Participants, young and old, performed proper CPR, following Dr. Lavapie’s basic CPR rules which should be done within two to four minutes, 2.5 inches deep and 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute, to prevent brain damage. This emergency procedure should be done “fast, deep and without interruption” in the words of Reyes, while waiting for the ambulance that will take the victim to the hospital to prevent irreparable brain damages and motor dysfunction.
Dianco recognized this turnout and hoped that, through this training, BHWs would be empowered in saving lives. “We hope that we have helped you help your families,” he remarked, citing the BHWs’ significance within the community as the bridge between immediate care or assistance and medical response.

The second batch of participants represented the municipalities of Lemery, Barotac Viejo, Estancia, San Rafael, Batad, San Dionisio, Sara, Carles, Concepcion and Balasan from the same three districts.

The afternoon session was just as honored as the first one with the appearance of Regional Board Member Nilo Tupas, who represented Congressman Raul “Boboy” Tupas, in sending their regards and best wishes for the event and encouraging participants.

Narrating the tragic fate of basketball legend Samboy Lim, at the mercy of cardiovascular disease that culminated in the initiation and enactment of the CPR Law or RA 10871, Tupas relayed the succeeding events that took place during the development of the Law, starting from Coach and former Pampanga 1st District Representative Yeng Guiao’s legal workings and proposition up to its journey to the House of Representatives to the Legislative Branch and on to the doorstep of the President’s Office.

A Women’s World?
A notable feature of this turnout was not its size, but rather the attendees themselves, as it was strikingly apparent that only a handful of men joined the training – generally leaving the rest of the numbers to female participants.
It was not hard to spot the differences in the demographics of the audience as, in both days of the training, pointing towards male participants became a challenge for they are drowned among their female counterparts.

While there is not yet any readily available present statistics on listed BHWs nationwide, the most estimable number the Department of Health (DOH) has goes around 196,562 as of their tabulations back in 2009. Roughly, seven years later, one could surmise how this could be doubled over. It is also quite difficult to check whether any data is available wherein gender ratio in this labor area is shown, but judging from what Iloilo has showcased, there is no doubt the job started out with an all-female race.

BHWs as health allies, social workers
Since its promulgation in the 1980s, Republic Act (RA) 7883 holds that Barangay Health Workers are persons who have “undergone training programs under any accredited government and non-government organization and who voluntarily renders primary health care services in the community after having been accredited to function as such by the local health board in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the DOH.”

They are commissioned to serve as health educators and community organizers and, most of all, providers of basic health care. Initially, this enactment is a voluntary program, but due to constraints both in the number of personnel and weight of the tasks, reforms to the law have been made granting monthly remunerations for each worker which currently amounts to less than Php 6, 000. This is to suffice for the crucial work they do which sometimes include aiding medical professionals to towns and assisting in birthing procedures in far-flung places which could be very risky for their own sake.

As a result, current efforts by Senators Loren Legarda and Risa Hontiveros are pressing for permanent position and wages among BHWs plus added incentives and benefits for hazard and subsistence. All these propositions are still under the pending items awaiting negotiations for legislation.

Empowering Women
Perhaps it is the instability of their jobs or the sensitivity of the tasks – as shown by the special inclusion of birthing in local health centers – that bar most men in this profession.
But during PHA’s Iloilo trip for the second leg of its CPR on Wheels & Wings campaign training, doctors and staff saw this imbalance on a different, positive light.

It has been noted that cardiovascular instances are most commonly seen among the male population, but even if this were not the case, the election of females as the dominant figures of this field only goes to show the significant role women play in the community.

Particularly in culture-heavy situations such as provinces, they are seen as mothers who look after the home and health of the family. While most male family heads tend to be the provider for proper living standards, females tend to be in charge of taking care of the well-being of the household.

Hence, bringing a program like CPR closer to the womenfolk of the provinces empowers women on a whole new level that goes beyond providing health care – this time, they take a higher turn at saving lives. Being ones most often left at home, they are the most likely candidates to be lifesavers in the community in the absence of most men.

In this light, the PHA, through its doctors and staff, are making them realize their importance in shaping the safety of their communities through small health care steps at home. And when homes are well-cared for, communities are safe.

Does this mean health care provision is the job and realm of women? Not necessarily, but women play an essential part in health not only in the family but to the community as a whole. While it is still encouraged that everyone, men and women, let themselves be involved in saving lives through CPR, the presence of women at the fore of health care also shows promise towards preserving lives and hearts.


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