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Empowering Rural Community Health Workers in Bongco, Philippines to Face COVID-19 Challenges With Digital Technology From Reach52

Community health workers already struggling to address healthcare gaps in the rural village of Bongco in the Iloilo province of central Philippines are facing a serious challenge with the surge in locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19 restrictions on movement have made rural and remote communities even more isolated. With support from Johnson & Johnson Foundation, the Center for Health Worker Innovation is partnering with reach 52 to expand its virtual academy and chatbot services to upskill community health workers for health education, health promotion and prevention messaging. Reach52's digital public health technology coupled with the “heart-ware” of dedicated reach52 employees is helping community health workers respond to the pandemic, while also strengthening health systems and primary care services for the future.

Anjelou Marie Estrella works for reach52. While apprehensive about working in person in a community where COVID-19 was surging, she says she put her fears aside train and empower community health workers in Bongco.

Photographer Tara Yap spent a day in Bongco capturing the sacrifices and contributions of reach52 employees and the community’s frontline heroes.