Slain barrio doctor, public health advocates to get Health Exemplar Award

MANILA-- The 3rd H and L Health Exemplar Awards will be presented to several public health advocates, including former doctor to the barrio Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas, in a ceremony to be held at One Canvas in Makati on Wednesday.

It would be the second posthumous award for Perlas, who was slain by an unidentified gunman last March 1 in Lanao del Norte. He was awarded the Department of Health (DOH) Bayani ng Kalusugan Award shortly after his death.

The other awardees are Dr. Juan Sanchez, Dr. Richard Mata, Dr. Edgardo Ulysses Dorotheo, Dr. Iris Isip-Tan and the Mu Sigma Phi of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. To receive special citations are Dr. Faith Guirnela-Go, Rosamy "Jing" CastaAeda-Velasco and the Hepatology Society of the Philippines.

The H and L (Health and Lifestyle) Health Exemplar Awards recognize individuals, institutions, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and media entities that have effectively promoted a specific aspect of a healthy lifestyle, such as diet and nutrition, exercise and fitness, smoking cessation, relaxation and stress control, and hygiene and cleanliness.

Dr. Perlas had served under the DOH's Doctors to the Barrio program in Sapad, Lanao del Norte for two years. He was active in various medical missions and emergency response teams at Northern Mindanao's regional health office and was one of the early responders to care for patients affected by Typhoon Pablo in Boston, Davao Oriental; the Nunungan Ambush in Nunungan, Lanao del Norte, and the MILF standoff in Zamboanga City. While in Sapad, Perlas had successfully lobbied for the renovation of the old rural health unit, which was also granted equipment, supplies and medicine.

Dr. Sanchez, a surgeon, has earned the moniker "Doctor on Wheels" for his innovative Mobile Surgical Unit. For the past 10 years, he has led monthly medical-surgical missions in many underserved areas in the country, performing various types of surgery for free.

Dr. Mata meanwhile has helped curb the rise in dengue cases in the country with his nationwide health education seminars and workshops for health workers and community leaders.

An outspoken advocate for the sin tax reform law and the inclusion of graphic health warnings in cigarette packages, Dr. Dorotheo has been actively involved in various global campaigns for tobacco control.

A specialist in internal medicine and endocrinology, Dr. Isip-Tan's expertise in health informatics has helped her harness the social media to promote health literacy and positive health-seeking behavior among the public.

The first and biggest medical sorority in the Philippines and in Asia, the Mu Sigma Phi Sorority will be recognized for its various projects for indigent patients. It has also promoted various health education campaigns, among them the Women Empowerment and Literacy through Health Education (WEALTH).

Dr. Guirnela-Go will be commended for the public education forums she has helped organize in her hometown in Oroquieta City, as well as other towns in Misamis Occidental, under the auspices of the Foundation for Lay Education on Heart Diseases, (FLEHD) Inc., while popular broadcast journalist CastaAeda will be given a special citation for her strong advocacy for a healthy lifestyle and other health-promotion programs.

The Hepatology Society of the Philippines will also be cited for effectively addressing the lack of public knowledge on Hepatitis B, which has led to misconceptions that cause stigma for those who carry the virus, and to delayed treatment leading to liver cancer and end-stage liver disease.

Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial will deliver the keynote address during the awarding ceremony.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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