COTABATO CITY– Health workers in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have reached out to families affected by the dry spell in two isolated towns in Lanao del Sur, health and local officials Tuesday said.

Hundreds of local residents have benefited from a two-day El-Niño mitigation initiative by health officials in two Lanao del Sur towns of Bombaran and Wao under a diversified measure meant to address the effects of the continuing drought.

In his report to ARMM Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman, Dr. Allen Minalang, Lanao Sur Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) said health workers had served hundreds of drought-stricken Maranaw and Christian families in Bumbaran and Wao, respectively.

The two towns are among the hardest hit upland municipalities in Lanao del Sur.

Bumbaran Mayor James Manabilang said his constituents were thankful to the regional and provincial health workers who went out of their comfort zones in Lanao del Sur to attend to the health needs of farmers vulnerable to diseases due to long dry spell.

Mayor Elvino Balicao Jr. of Wao town said his constituents were elated of the health services they received over and above the regular health assistance provided by the local government unit.

One of the beneficiary of health services was Bumbaran corn farmer Abdulsalik Marigah, 35, whose two sons have been suffering from respiratory illnesses. Both his sons have availed of free services from the medical team brought by Minalang to Bumbaran.

Another corn farmer, Fatima Ansar, 29, said she was happy to receive medicine and vitamins from the outreach program of DOH-Lanao Sur and Department of Health (DOH-ARMM).

Minalang also lauded DOH-ARMM Regional Sec. Kadil Sinolinding Jr. who provided manpower and logistical supports for the outreach program.

“It is the best thing we can do to our people at this time of dry spell, we help them prevent contacting El Nino related diseases,” Sinolinding said in another interview.

According to Minalang, ARMM Vice Governor Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, and Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. also extending assistance by providing transportation for medicine and other logistics to the upland towns.

Emergency workers from the ARMM have been mobilized to attend to the needs of families and communities affected by dry spell.

Hataman said workers of the ARMM Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART) have been hopping to communities in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur to extend aid to farmers affected by dry spell and whose products have been damaged by El Nino.

Accompanying ARMM-HEART is the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF-ARMM) which dispersed more than five tons of farming inputs and distributed water buffaloes, cattle and mechanized threshers, tractors and corn shelling equipment to peasants in the two provinces in the past 18 weeks.

In Balindong, Lanao del Sur, provincial health officials also launched on Monday the construction of a two-storey birthing and operating stations at the Balindong Municipal Hospital. (PNA)

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