A total of seven newly graduated medical doctors from the Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) Program of the Department of Health (DOH) were deployed to various provinces of Ilocos Region to ensure quality health care service to various depressed, marginalized and underserved communities in
the provinces. Three of the seven DTTB’s are deployed in Ilocos Norte, two in Ilocos Sur, and two in La Union based on the list of priority areas without medical doctors.

“These medical doctors will be responsible in implementing the national and local health programs. They will conduct regular medical consultations and referral of critical cases to appropriate health facilities,” Regional Director Paula Paz M. Sydiongco stated. Sila ang magbibigay ng kinakailangang health services sa mga malalayong lugar, lalo na sa mga communities na nasa bundok at mga lugar na walang duktor. They will fill the gap in communities that are lacking in health services.”

“This new generation of young and committed doctors will be witnesses to the realities of our health care system at the grassroots level. At dito magkaka-ugat ang kanilang public health perspective and hopefully, this will be the opportunity for them to become health advocates eventually benefiting the nation.” There are currently fifteen (15) doctors serving under the program, deployed in the region.

“Aside from providing medical services, the DTTB’s will develop and implement advocacy projects and strategies and conducts monitoring & evaluation of health programs. They will also conduct
epidemiology investigations whenever necessary and perform medico-legal cases and conduct regular medical consultations and referral of serious cases to appropriate facilities,” Sydiongco added. The Doctors to the Barrios program was created in 1993 to address the lack of doctors
serving in rural areas.

There are now 34 batches of doctors deployed in various geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) of the country from Batanes to Taw-Tawi. Currently, there are 215 doctors serving under the program nationwide. Bonafide Filipino citizens, physically and mentally fit, of good moral character and willing to work and be deployed in depressed and hard to reach areas for three (3) years may apply for the program at the DOH. Only 50 qualified applicants per year are accepted in the program.

Photo by Glenn Ramos/CMU/DOH-Ilocos Region

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