The HealthActivist

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HealthActivist.ph is born because I took my journey towards health seriously. I told myself that if I am endeavoring to live a healthy life, I should make it as my advocacy and integrate it to my everyday life as a development worker.

Despite my non-medical background, I took the courage to walk this path in the hope to learn as I progress. I am a firm believer that my health shouldn’t be in the hands of a medical or health professional but it should be in my hands and contribute to the accessibility and availability of the healthcare system for all Filipinos. For me, the first step towards health is to know your body, understand it and be able to respond to its signals accordingly. I will write more about this in My Health Journey Page.

Let me walk you through my site.

Obviously, the site will start with the homepage in which it shows you the latest update I have on health through events I have attended/participated, research, documents, features, news and analysis I have either written or researched about.

The following are the site’s pages:

The HealthActivist discusses about the author’s motivation in developing the site and a walk through of the site itself. It’s some sort of a sitemap.

My Health Journey is a walkthrough of how I started my journey towards health.

HealthActivist.ph does not promise to contain all the information you may need about your personal health and the advocacy. It is just one of the many other health resources in the World Wide Web. However, it attempts to point you towards the direction you might need at a certain point in your health life. The Health Resources page will act as a mini-information hub within the site. The following list will be updated from time to time:

  • Healers and Health Practitioners (who focuses on a holistic approach in looking at your health).
  • Healing Modalities (list of varied healing modalities apart from the conventional ones).
  • Health Institutions (list of both CSOs, NGOs and government agencies on health).
  • Health Calendar (list of health events based on the DOH and International Health Calendars).
  • Home Remedies (How To’s: Home-made remedies and cure for specific illnesses).
  • Health News (list of sources of alternative/traditional healthcare news apart from the conventional ones).
  • Stories of Survival (gathering of stories of survival – cancer and health crisis survivors, etc.)
  • Wellness Products & Shops (list of organic products and where to shop for them).
  • Healthy Restaurants (list of healthy restaurants in Manila and in nearby provinces for your healthy dining).
  • Healthy Recipes (a collection of healthy recipes for everyone to whip-up in their own kitchens).

Another page in the site features the Health Campaigns, which I currently support/write about. I categorize them as follows:

  • NO TO GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (NO2GMO)! YES TO SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE. Affects radically our food system and impacts our health and environment.
  • BROWN RICE CAMPAIGN. A campaign that mainstreams/popularized the production and consumption of brown rice, a healthier option for consumers than consuming the white rice and/or the Golden Rice (a GMO-rice with beta-carotene).
  • PUBLIC HEALTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE. I am a firm believer that even if we take measures in becoming healthy through eating and exercise, if we have an environment that is polluted, we will never truly be healthy. So I support demands and calls for: renewable energy as source of electricity rather than fossil fuel-base source (i.e. coal-fired power plants); organic vegetables and herbal gardens (rather than plantations for biofuels and GMO crops); sustainable agriculture, (instead of monoculture and conventional farming); building health infrastructures that are green and safe; and demands for government to implement these at the national level to be consistent with its progressive stance in the international climate change negotiations.
  • RATIFY OP-ICESCR (RIGHT TO HEALTH). I also support a healthcare system founded on the people’s right to health as enshrined in many international conventions and declarations. One of which is the International Convention on Economic, Social, Cultural Rights (ICESCR). I want the Philippines to sign the Optional Protocol of this convention so we can exact government accountability to respect, protect and fulfill our ESC rights especially the Right to Health.
  • GOVERNMENT BUDGET AND UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE (ABI-HEALTH). I have learned that the budget is a concrete expression of public policy. Therefore, when more funds are invested to ensure people’s health, it shows that the government is giving health a priority.

The other categories in the site are as follows:

Public Health is all about my advocacy because health is not just about losing weight and living healthy on your own. It has something to do with how the government and the institutions work in ensuring people’s health. What I have been doing to achieve optimum health should be made available and accessible to everyone even those economically-challenged Filipinos. Communities must be able to chart their own health programs according to their needs in the community and should not be dictated by the institutions. For me, I want a genuine “health in the hands of the people” type of healthcare system in the Philippines with the support of the government (which is supposed to be lead by the people themselves) and also in partnership with non-state actors (i.e. academe, church, media and private sector).  The people’s health should not be a source of greedy profit-making by pharmaceutical companies and other health service providers whose main goal is to gain too much profit.

Other categories connected to public health include: Health Statistics lifted from government and international health data to be translated in layman’s term; and, Health Policy and Governance, which would list and/or analyze healthcare policies and governance issues.

Your Health is primarily about taking care of your personal health with categories such as body, mental/mind, emotional, social (relational) and spiritual health. For body health, it’s all about physical exercise and healthy eating; mental/mind health is about synchronizing the body and mind to be healthy; emotional health is about managing your stress; social (relational) health is about making relationships work to reduce, if not, eliminate stress; and, spiritual health is about discovering the source of your inner strength and how you use this and integrate it in your everyday life. For me, my spiritual health is being charged by advocacy and activism: participating in making the world a pleasant place to live in for everyone.

Environmental Health is composed of articles about the external factors that affect public health from becoming realized. For me, I chose to focus on the worsening of climate change, continuous mining of our natural resources that brings pollution to water sources, lack of public road safety and spread of toxic chemicals in food, air and water.

Health Updates will be posted regularly from the events I participated in and/or documents from breakthrough researches, issues and features I came across.

The bias of my site is towards Preventive Primary Care, Right to Health and the understanding of Integrative Healthcare as a consciousness. Therefore, as a part of this, I will tackle more of the considered “traditional and alternative” healthcare and be critical of the conventional healthcare provided by the Western medicine. Although, the latter has a role to play in the holistic approach towards health, I will dispute the effectiveness of synthetic, chemical-based drugs/medicine and will promote more of the natural cures and remedies. While most of evidences are anecdotal, my site will be a part of the push to do researches on these traditional and alternative ways to healthcare.

HealthActivist.ph aims to empower people to take action over their health both in the public health and personal health aspects. Hope you watch out for more of my health articles because HealthActivist.ph wants your HEALTH GUARANTEED!

 

This is me in 2013!The Author 

My name is Maria Fatima Villena (Jofti), author of this blog. I consider myself as a health journalist, activist, a wellness and fitness writer/blogger. I have been into the health sector, studying and practicing healthy lifestyle at the same time. I am currently affiliated with the following organizations:

 

At present I get my knowledge and training in the health sector through my work as the administrative assistant to the UP System EIDR project: “Towards an enhanced health care system by community-managed health programs to achieve better health outcomes: a community participatory research for advocacy to LGUs, DOH, PITAHC and PHIC.

However, I am also a freelance researcher at the FoodFirst Information Network (FIAN-Philippines). I also help in the media work of the Alternative Budget Initiative – Health Cluster (ABI-HEALTH), a consortium of organizations, divided into clusters (Health, Education, Environment, Agriculture and Social Protection), participating in the monitoring of the National Government Budget through agencies respectively assigned to them respectively.

I am on my 14th year in the development field with extensive experience in handling various work such as project management, research and writing, advocacy and campaigns, networking and linkages and  lobbying and media work.

 

 

2 Responses to The HealthActivist

  1. Dear Ms. Villena:

    Our ad agency is currently helping our client, Atienza Naturale, present the latest development in their ongoing research on malunggay and health. A 2014 study done at the Ospital ng Maynila by the medical faculty of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila has revealed that regular consumption of malunggay in either food or nutritional supplement form may actually play a key role in the management of both Type I (insulin-dependent) and Type II diabetes.

    That said, we’d like to know if you would like to take part in a bloggers’ activity for Atienza Naturale. I will be able to send you the details within the week along with a copy of the study. Please advise if this is okay with you; a token and honorarium will be given to all participating bloggers.

    Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Best regards,
    MIDGE K. MANLAPIG
    Senior Copywriter
    World Impact Communications Inc.

    • Maria Fatima says:

      Hi Midge,

      Please send a me copy of the study at maria_fatima@healthactivist.ph. I would like to know more about the research. You don’t have to give me a token or honorarium for this because as an advocate of health, I would like to maintain my credibility and independence as a blogger and health writer. Thank you very much!

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