Primary Healthcare and Water Projects Decrease Disease in the Philippines

Primary Healthcare and Water Projects Decrease  Disease in the Philippines

Ken and Ruth Copsey have been working in the Philippines for over 40 years. They were originally assigned to the Visayan group of Islands, then Luzon and Mindanao. They now work out of California, USA, traveling back to continue this important work with their Partners. They carry out Emmanuel International’s mission of bringing hope and healing to communities by engaging in primary healthcare, first aid training, and other community projects.

Ruth, a nurse by profession, shares how important community health projects are. “We went to places where there. are no doctors. We did medical missions offering free consultation and treatment. The diseases that children have are all preventable, but they are still struggling with them. Kids were still dying from diarrhea; nobody should be dying from diarrhea anymore." 

One of the reasons for this is the lack of infrastructure such as water systems. When Ken first worked with the Manobo tribe, they did not have electricity or running water. One of the projects that Ken did with the help of the people of the village was to build a water system using a local natural spring. They cemented a water catchment, then piped it to the village about a kilometer away. They added storage tanks so they could use it at the school and the church. Many community members now have connections to their own homes. Just as important as the initial infrastructure for the water projects, is the ability to keep the water clean and accessible for generations to come. People in the community have taken responsibility for maintaining the water system, and they collect a small fee for the upkeep.

When Ruth went back recently, she was very impressed to see the improvements to the water system. The community had built a storage tank that was closer to the church and the school. “Now, everyone in the village is connected to the system.” she beams. We have noticed a really big change. The women who have been trained in primary healthcare now know what to do to treat diarrhea and skin diseases. These are no longer rampant. They also know how to care for wounds, fever, dehydration, cough and colds and other health conditions.

The work of Emmanuel International is making a difference for people who live in a cycle of poverty, where lack of access to primary healthcare and clean water is preventing long full lives. This work is also sharing the gospel of the love of Christ. On her visit to the community in March, Ruth was able to provide “the Shepherds Bible” for all the 12 area Pastors. They were so excited to receive these. Every project that we have is not just for the physical needs of the people, but for the spiritual needs as well.

Written by Emma Clake EICanada Voulunteer

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