The inspiration for their project may have been personal, but the positive effects are universal. Team Y-CARE is on the verge of a breakthrough, proving that amazing outcomes are possible when heart drives technology, and collective resolve drives change.
It was personal.
The team that walked into the live screening room in Iloilo last November was a team with a mission. They wanted to correct a glitch in the system – one that cost the life of their friend – through a mobile phone application.
This mission is the one thing that unites them. As the only team composed entirely of young professionals, Team Y-CARE is not representing a school or an organization. Val Deatras is a teacher; Victorina Malones and Dorothy Sonalan are nurses; Cylin Ed Duero is a seaman; and AJR Sonza is a medical technician.
Despite their diverse backgrounds, they have come together to represent their friend, who died at 23 of heart disease because he could not be brought to the hospital in time. They have come together in the name of access to healthcare, especially when it is a matter of life or death.
Central to their innovative idea is the HOPE mobile app, which the group envisions as the Philippines’ future electronic health record system. It includes a tagging system that alerts the people involved in emergency response, and activates the emergency cascade to bring the patient to the nearest health facility. The group’s testing ground is Sta. Barbara in Iloilo, where the prototype would be run in five of the farthest barangays (Buayahon, Pungsod, Ban-ag, Bantay and Tugas).
But emergency response is not merely a matter of providing transportation – it also requires a seamless referral system. This begins with the Barangay Health Workers (BHWs), the people’s first contact in the community. A critical part of the project is training the BHWs to deliver basic interventions during emergencies. Sessions have been held every Saturday since March, with about 23 BHWs in attendance.
For Lovelita Tutor, a BHW and Barangay Captain of Bantay, Sta. Barbara, the whole project is a much needed and long-overdue intervention. She recounts how just a few months back, they lost another community member because of delayed emergency response. “May namatay dahil sa high blood, di agad nakapunta ang ambulance dahil may ibang pasyenteng dinala sa ospital. One hour pa bago namin siya nadala, wala na (A patient died due to hypertension recently. The ambulance wasn’t able to bring her to the hospital in time, because it was being used by another patient. It took one hour before she could be brought to the hospital; by then, it was too late,” she shares. She hopes that it will be the last sad story she will have to tell.
The Saturday sessions are the first formal training she has received, despite being a BHW for 13 years now. “Kay dasig (It’s easy),” she says enthusiastically. “Maa-apply namin ito sa pumuluyo (We’ll be able to apply this in the community).” The response of the BHWs confirms Team Y-CARE’s belief: that by nourishing the grassroots of the healthcare system, they will be nurturing an ecosystem of enabled healthcare workers.
Aside from the BHWs, other organizations are pouring support into the project. Christian Stephen Legayada, the president of the Rotary Club of Central Iloilo City, said that when Team Y-CARE approached them with the proposal, they had no second thoughts. “We are happy to help them. We want to be a beacon of light, ameliorate [the problems in] the community, and … be agents, catalysts for change,” he shares. Because they believe that the project has a lot of potential, they plan to replicate it in neighboring communities.
The inspiration may have been personal, but the positive effects are universal. Team Y-CARE is on the verge of a breakthrough, proving that amazing outcomes are possible when heart drives technology, and collective resolve drives change.