Palo, Leyte—In recognition of the region’s achievements to uphold the pillars of the health sector, the Department of Health Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-EVCHD) marked a landmark event, as it conducted the Regional Awarding of Health Achievers on September 15. 2022 at Palo, Leyte—with the theme “Boses han Paglaum: Amplifying the Voices of Our Health Champions”—to recognize the contributions and hard work of our local chief executives for the region’s health sector during the past years.

The ceremony was joined by the local chief executives, representatives, and local health officers of the local government units who traveled all the way from the provinces of Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Southern Leyte, and Leyte. Along with the local chief executives, members of the DOH-EVCHD Executive Committee, the DOH provincial Development Management Officers (DMOs), respective program managers, and other DOH-EVCHD personnel were also present.

Spearheaded by Assistant Regional Director Rodolfo Antonio M. Albornoz, on behalf of Regional Director Exuperia B. Sabalberino, the DOH-EVCHD awarded our local executives for meeting their COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage targets and expressed recognition for the limitless dedication and sacrifices our local executives made for the health of their localities.

In light of the PinasLakas campaign of President Marcos Jr. to revitalize the government vaccination drive, ARD Albornoz also called upon the local executives to be steadfast in their efforts to encourage their constituents to get their booster shots.

Apart from our successes against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Awarding of Health Achievers also celebrated the region’s achievements in the area of sanitation. The region recognized 13 new Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) municipalities, 2 new municipalities with Established and Active Local Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Committees and 1 Gold Awardee for the Category of Bacteriologically Confirmed Treatment Enrolment.

The DOH EVCHD also boasted 3 Red Orchid Awardees with 2 Red Orchid Hall of Fame Awardees in their efforts to minimize tobacco usage in our public spaces. The Red Orchid Awards was initiated in 2009 to strengthen the efforts to implement the 100% smoke-free environments using the WHO MPOWER initiative. Winners of the Red Orchid award entitles a local government unit to be included in the Red Orchid Hall of Fame awards.

The fight to eliminate tuberculosis is also faring well in Eastern Visayas with 1 bronze, 1 silver, and 1 gold awardee for achieving their Tuberculosis Preventive Treatment Rates.

In his inspirational speech, ARD Albornoz remarked that “these awards mean more than just formalities, these awards mean that lives are being saved in your communities, and more Filipino families practice better lifestyles and live in better and safer environments.“ He expressed gratitude to the local chief executives and health officers for the past few years of perseverance they dedicated to our region, and wished for them to “see this collective effort continue through all of the health challenges that we face in our region and local communities.”