The Philippines

Credit:Photo by Alex Ostasiewicz

Our Work in Country

For more than 20 years, Americares has been at work in the Philippines. Following Typhoon Haiyan, one of the worst storms of the century to hit the country, Americares expanded its emergency programs in a commitment to strengthen health care for people in need. An in-country office and warehouse were established and a team assembled to guide the recovery process and build longer term, sustainable community health programs. One of the first areas of concern was health care access in many communities where the only local health facility had been damaged, thus leaving many vulnerable people without access to medicine and clinical services. 

Health Snapshot 

The Philippines, a nation of more than 7,000 islands, is ranked among the world’s most disaster-prone countries due to its location on the typhoon belt and the Pacific earthquake rim – known as the “Ring of Fire”. An average of 20 typhoons per year and 21 active volcanoes, along with mudslides, flooding and earthquakes often cause heavy damage, especially to health facilities and other infrastructure, resulting in many injuries and fatalities due to the inaccessibility of vulnerable communities on many of the islands.  And when disaster strikes, our in country team responds.  In the last year, the team has mobilized immediately to help survivors of Tropical Storm Tembin (Vinta) and Typhoon Kai-Tak.

Our Philippines team most recently responded to Super Typhoon Mangkhut (known as Ompong locally) which struck the Philippines with 180 mph winds as the most powerful storm of the season.  The team provided emergency medical aid and humanitarian supplies in Northern Luzon.

In addition to emergency aid in other storms, Americares responded to the Mayon Volcano activity where 75,000 were evacuated and some sought shelter in nearly 50 evacuation centers. 

AmeriCares has restored 84 health care facilities since Haiyan re-establishing health care access for nearly 2 million patients.
The organization also has a disaster risk reduction program in the Philippines to help health care providers prepare in advance for emergencies.
AmeriCares works with Sovereign Order of Malta in the Philippines to provide access to medicine and medical supplies for over 150 hospitals, clinics, orphanages and other institutions.

Community Health

The emergence of mental health issues in the aftermath of disaster has led Americares to develop a targeted program to improve access to Mental Health and Psychosocial Support services (MHPSS) in three municipalities of northern Cebu. The program trains health workers in identifying general mental health issues and local health providers (Barangay Health Workers) on psychosocial interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Overall, the project will strengthen local capacities, advocate for inclusion of mental health in local and regional government priorities, and directly support those living with mental illness through access to medicine and trained health workers.  In total, this project will reach 9% of those living in the target municipalities (12,500) and train at least 571 community health workers.  Through stronger MHPSS centers in each municipality, trained health workers will be able to provide direct psychosocial support and more quickly identify mental illness for referral and reduce the overall burden from mental illness -  leading to stronger, healthier and more productive communities.