Educators, City Officials and JSOTF-P Dedicate Birthing Clinic
January 21, 2010
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines- Representatives from Mein College, government officials and members of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines gathered to celebrate the dedication of Mein Gentle Births, a maternity and birthing center in Zamboanga City Jan. 14.
"This birthing center will contribute will contribute to the welfare and development of the community," said Marycel Engracia, the vice president for Mein College. "And, we want this to be a training facility for our midwifery students."
The four-room facility facing San Jose Guso Road will provide low-cost prenatal and postpartum care. The clinic is also designed to accommodate normal deliveries and provide immunizations for young children.
The ceremony began with a Catholic blessing followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Guests were also given a tour of the newly-painted pink and white building, complete with a labor room, rooms for birthing and a spacious waiting area.
After the tour, several of the educators and government officials who made this project a reality spoke about the significance of the clinic.
Mein College has a long history of partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and JSOTF-P. In fact, the birthing center was made possible through the support of AFP's Western Mindanao Command, Naval Forces Western Mindanao and JSOTF-P.
"The opening of this clinic will be a huge benefit for the people and families using this facility. But, it is also a victory in Zamboanga in that it represents what is possible when responsible citizens and organizations collaborate for the good of the community," said JSOTF-P's Chief of Staff Air Force Lt. Col. David Smith.
Smith also spoke on the importance of JSOTF-P's involvement in the project, as many of the colleges students come from Jolo, Tawi-Tawi, and Basilan where AFP and JSOTF-P work together to improve the conditions there and contribute to the economic development of the region.
Other community organizations that contributed to the two-year project include: Engineering Design Consultancy, Inc, the Midwifery Club, Muslim Students Organization, Voice of Mindanao and the Zamboanga City Health Office.
Other projects with Mein College include last December's Medical Civic Action Program, with participation from the AFP and JSOTF-P in December. Hundreds of Zamboanga City residents received free health services from AFP's Camp Navarro General Hospital and medications from JSOTF-P.
Plans are in place for the birthing clinic to open in June, initially in shifts, with the goal of providing 24-hour care in the coming weeks.
"It is an honor to be standing with our partners today and share in celebration for the people of Zamboanga and the community at large," said Smith.