May 2014: Held closely to her mother, baby Mica sucks happily on her thumb amidst the busy crowd waiting to access medical services during a Plan ‘Family Health Day’ in Salcedo, Eastern Samar.
Baby Mica is one of the youngest survivors of Typhoon Haiyan when it hit the Philippines on 8 November 2013. Mica’s mother, Jocelyn, 40, remembers the harrowing moments when the strong winds uprooted a coconut tree which fell on her house. The impact is still apparent on her children.
“I notice that they are easily scared when there are strong winds. They will quickly go inside the house to take cover,” says Jocelyn.
A mother of 9, Jocelyn is grateful for the opportunity to receive support from the medical mission and spend time with other families that have also endured Typhoon Haiyan.
“We are trying to rebuild our home and our lives. It’s not easy since our source of livelihood was affected. I wish to have our own fishing boat again. With almost all of my children going to school, 3 of which are in college, expenses are mounting up,” says Jocelyn.
During Family Health Day, families visit several medical stations where they receive a check up. Information sessions are conducted on pregnancy, infant and young child feeding, sexually transmitted diseases, family planning, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and gender-based violence.
Mothers and children then meet with doctors for their individual medical consultation before receiving hygiene and maternity kit packages.
While the Family Health Day primarily targets pregnant and lactating women, the event also hopes to bring in male partners to increase their awareness on the rights and needs of women, particularly around health-related issues.
Family Health Day is just one of Plan’s activities to support children and families affected by Typhoon Haiyan.