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Building Resilience

Story by ActionAid October 30th, 2014


Malalison Island is a 20 minute boat ride away from the main city of Culasi in the The Philippines. Despite the idyllic setting of sparkling waters and powdery white-sand shores there is widespread poverty and poor health services, damaged further by the impact of the typhoon.

During the Typhoon Haiyan emergency response, ActionAid with its partner WeDpro consulted the women of Malalison, (52% of the population) on what they needed most and how we could help. They requested a boat ambulance to use in the event of emergencies and disasters, as communities on the island couldn’t afford to pay 2,000 pesos ($45) for the 20 minute boat ride to the medical facilities on the mainland. Without the funds to pay for the boat, child bearing women are forced to risk their lives and deliver at home with traditional birth attendants. The boat ambulance provided by ActionAid and WeDpro now serves three neighbouring islands free of charge. ActionAid intends to replicate the service in other areas where we work.


the first patient

Girlie, 41, was the first patient to use the ambulance. She was able to give birth to her fifth child, Gilvic, in a hospital rather than at home for the first time: “It’s difficult for me to give birth before in the hospital because we are away from the city and we don’t own a boat that would transport me to the town”.

Jessica Lagda Barangay Health Worker Malalison Island, Culasi

Footnote: PHOTOS: McRobert Nacario/ActionAid VIDEO: Ivo Belohoubek/ActionAid
Culasi, Antique Province, Philippines