MANILA-The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), provided P4 million ($72,000) in funding and technical support to the Department of Health (DOH) and Child Protection Network Foundation (CPN) to strengthen reporting and training systems for women and child protection in the Philippines.

On April 11, USAID Philippines Mission Director Ryan Washburn witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between DOH Secretary Teodoro Herbosa and CPN Executive Director Dr. Bernadette Madrid for the enhancement of the Women and Children Protection Management Information System (WCPMIS), a system that tracks cases of women and child abuse in the Philippines.

Through the funding, USAID will support the DOH and CPN in enhancing the WCPMIS by streamlining its data collection, analysis, and reporting of abuse cases. This will enable more efficient monitoring of abuse survivors’ progress, ensuring timely support from responders. Accurate data will also be made available to other organizations and individuals providing services to abuse survivors.

DOH and CPN also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the online training of healthcare workers on recognizing, reporting, recording, and referring (4Rs) abuse cases. Under the MoU, DOH will now require Women and Child Protection Units in hospitals to report abuse cases to authorities.

“In all of our work, we are guided by the paramount principle of the child’s best interest,” USAID Philippines Mission Director Washburn said during the signing ceremony. “The agreements signed today will ensure that those charged with identifying and reporting abuse will understand their obligations and how to fulfill them. Consequently, those agencies and persons charged with preventing, protecting, and providing support to survivors will have the information they need to effectively carry out their own roles in combating child abuse.”

“This database is important, being one of the missing gaps in preventing and intervening on cases of violence against children. Data will tell us what the victims need, the appropriate policies and projects intended for them and where to exert more effort (for the victims),” CPN Executive Director Dr. Madrid said.

“The culture of violence must be stopped. Tight collaboration and solid data can change policies to protect women and children,” DOH Secretary Herbosa said. “We have an ocean of data all around us. We must harness the power of that ocean, organizing information into seas of knowledge with safe harbors that will allow boats of wisdom to dock.”

In addition to strengthening the reporting infrastructure, the partnership between the DOH and CPN will also improve training programs for healthcare workers in identifying and reporting abuse cases.

USAID supports the Philippine government in integrating gender-based violence prevention and response into its health programming. Since 2019, USAID has trained over 3,400 health providers in the 4Rs, along with training on gender sensitivity and gender-based violence prevention and response across its project areas. (PR)