DOH gives posthumous award to former doctor to the barrio

MANILA-- The Department of Health (DOH) said Friday it is giving a posthumous "Bayani ng Kalusugan" award to Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas, the 31-year-old former doctor to the barrios who was shot dead last March 1 in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte.

The DOH Bayani ng Kalusugan Award honors individuals and organizations that have rendered time, effort and a part of their lives in meaningful contribution to move the country closer to Universal Health Care.

According to the department, Perlas was born from a middle class family in Batan, Aklan and despite financial challenges, he was a "consistent achiever", earning his bachelor's degree in biology/zoology from UP Los BaAos, his doctor of medicine from the West Visayas State University College of Medicine; and his master in public management, major in health system and development from the Development Academy of the Philippines.

The department wrote on Facebook that due to financial constraints during his medical education, he entered the Bagong Doktor para sa Bayan of the First Gentleman Foundation, and joined the DOH's Doctors to the Barrio program after passing the Physician Licensure Exam in 2012 to fulfill his return to service agreement for his medical education scholarship.

It said Perlas had the option to stay in his hometown but chose to be deployed to the marginalized and underserved area of Sapad, Lanao del Norte for two years.

He was active in various medical missions and emergency response teams at Northern Mindanao's regional health office and was one of the early responders to care for patients affected by Typhoon Pablo in Boston, Davao Oriental; the Nunungan Ambush in Nunungan, Lanao del Norte, and the MILF standoff in Zamboanga City.

According to the department, while in Sapad, Perlas had successfully lobbied for the renovation of the old rural health unit (RHU), which was also granted equipment, supplies and medicine.

He also facilitated its accreditation for primary care benefits and a tuberculosis package in 2013, and a maternity care package in 2014. Newborn screening was fully implemented in the RHU in 2015.

Before his death, he was working for a laboratory and a new lying-in clinic for the RHU.

He also lobbied for mandatory immunization for children five years old and below, leading to the passage of an ordinance in 2013.

"We deeply mourn the loss of Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas, who was one of the few doctors who dared to work in difficult and underserved communities," the department said on Facebook. "The Philippines lost not only a doctor but a dedicated and exceptional true Doctor of the Barrio." (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency