June 14, 2024

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – It’s all hands-on deck for medical personnel from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Benguet, Community Service Centers, regional and Baguio City offices in the medical and dental mission set for the indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) of Karao, Bokod.

The initiative, set April 26, underscores the NCIP’s dedication to bridging the healthcare gap that disproportionately affects ICC/IP communities.

Barangay Karao, predominantly inhabited by the Karao ICC/IP group, distinct from the Ibaloy ICC/IPs, was chosen as a beneficiary due to its remote location and the resulting challenges its residents face in accessing healthcare services.

The mission signifies a collaborative effort, bringing together a team of medical professionals from various NCIP offices.

It ensures a comprehensive range of services being offered to the Karao community.

Residents can expect consultations, checkups, and treatment for various medical conditions.

The dental component of the mission will provide much-needed relief through cleanings, extractions (if necessary), and potential referrals for more specialized dental care.

By directly addressing a critical concern within the community, NCIP demonstrates its commitment to understanding and upholding the rights and well-being of the IPs.

The mission also serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about the unique healthcare challenges faced by geographically isolated ICC/IP communities.

Limited access to medical facilities, qualified healthcare professionals, and culturally sensitive healthcare education often contribute to poorer health outcomes in IP communities.

For many medical personnel working with the NCIP, the mission holds a special significance. While their dedication to serving ICC/IP communities is unwavering, the administrative realities of the role can sometimes place them at a distance from their core medical training.

The Free and Prior Informed Consent process, Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development Protection Plan, and other crucial functions are essential for protecting indigenous rights, but they can also create a significant amount of paperwork.

The NCIP-Benguet Medical and Dental Mission to the Barrios is a chance for these medical professionals to reconnect with their chosen field and directly apply their expertise to improve the lives of the Karao community.

The mission is not a one-time event. It embodies the NCIP’s ongoing dedication to empowering ICC/IP communities.

The knowledge gained through the mission can inform future healthcare programs tailored to the needs and cultural context of the Karao ICC/IPs.

The NCIP-Benguet Medical and Dental Mission to the Barrios is set at the Karao Elementary School Gymnasium. – Rocky Ngalob