Pinoy doctor recognized in US for championing reproductive health
A former doctor to the barrios, or a doctor who serves in rural areas, became the first Southeast Asian doctor to join the 120 Under 40 campaign for youth leaders who champion the cause of reproductive health around the world.
Dr. Marvin Masalunga will join nine others in a series of talks at Maryland, Washington, and New York as part of the program by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute.
"It’s a validation of what I, and our group of rural health workers in Palawan, do for the people. Aside from that, it speaks that I am probably doing something right in my service," said Masalunga, who works in Coron, Palawan, as a deputy municipal health officer.
Of his involvement with the Forum and rural health, Masalunga said, "In my involvement with the rural health community, I brought along with me three causes that are close to my heart – the disabled people, reproductive health, and mental health."
"These are the people who are at the laylayan (the outskirts of society). And they are the ones who need medical attention, the most," he added.
Masalunga is hoping to improve maternal health and educate the youth of their reproductive health rights to lessen the cases of maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy in Coron and other rural areas.
Masalunga also plans to take up pathology as his specialization and to create an adolescent forum to "empower the youth to know more about their reproductive health rights, and how they can take care of themselves better."
All 40 winners, who are chosen through public voting, are rewarded with $1,000 and will be part of a roster of 120 youth leaders after a repeat of the ceremony in 2017 and 2019.
The assembly is in support of Family Planning 2020, a partnership that "aims to enable 120 million additional women and girls to access life-saving contraceptives and other reproductive health supplies." —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News