Thursday, July 13, 2017

Those Red Boxes Quietly Went to Work!

Seconds after the earth shook last 06JUL2017, power was gone in all of Eastern Visayas (Region VIII), and even beyond. It did not come back fast as the main grid was badly damaged, and the aftershocks were making everything worse. As we write this story, power is not even fully restored. The region is still under rotational power outages, though the periods are getting shorter.

We thought of hopping by at some of our beneficiary communities, to see for ourselves how they are coping with the new calamitous situation - since we know, we are still way too far towards full recovery from Yolanda.

And, we found our 'quiet' hardy red boxes all seriously at work!

"Red boxes"? Ah well, that's a sobriquet we gave to the "Generator Sets" that we distributed to a number of health facilities in the Yolanda-affected corridor of Eastern Visayas! Yup, still under ADB JFPR Grant9175, Component B, implemented by DOH 8 :)

Here's a photo of one of those gensets:

Here's another photo showing the machine's size compared to people:

While some of these 'red boxes' have already gone to work as early as days after delivery (sometime 2016 until early 2017), many were put to really serious work after the July 6 earthquake. Quietly they do!

Quiet? Yes, almost even 'silent' haha! This new kind of genset has its own noise-reduction 'whatevers' built to the insides of that bright-red casing! How quiet? At about 3 meters, you can hardly hear it. Go a bit farther and you'll hear nothing of its engine whirring!

How helpful are these machines? Well, we did not really truly feel how critical a generator set would be to a rural health unit, until we went around to see and hear the health workers themselves thanking and telling us how big a problem they would have to face during these power outages without our red boxes! Nakakataba ng puso!

Here are some snippets:
In Mayorga, the machine sits at the very entrance to their RHU (eye sore?), but health personnel there say they'll soon find a place for this big little red box! A nurse told us how important power is to their many freezers and she beamingly told us: "plus, nakakanood kami ng Eat Bulaga kahit black out buong Mayorga"!

At Javier, the jolly PHN told us "sir, silent and heavy duty yan, salamat talaga sa tulong nyo, lalo na ngayon meron kaming bagong-panganak"! She invited us to see the mother and baby but we declined! Haha, the last time we were in this facility to check on the delivery of emergency and maternity kits, there was also a "bagong panganak" and they showed us they used the 'baby mitten' on the cute little new born and gave 'maternity pads' to the indigent mother!

Tunga RHU became a popular destination amongst townspeople during power outages, even with their executives! Why? Because these folks all need to have their gadgets charged, and the RHU kindly allows them to!

At the Capoocan RHU, after watching them reload fuel unto the running machine, we were told of so many things to be constantly refrigerated, (vaccines, meds, blood, etc etc), that without power, they would all go to waste.

Here are more of our observations:
At General MacArthur (Leyte), health personnel told us "its rest time for the generator sir, and the crudo has also just arrived"!

Likewise at Abuyog RHU1, their 'red box' was at rest with personnel telling us "3 to 6pm po ang brownout namin sir para makapahinga ang generator"!

Well, Jaro's red box is for 'emergency during emergency use only' laughs one of the municipal employees. Why? Because the red box that we gave is only used for the 3 or 4 hour periods in a day when the bigger yellow genset of the LGU has to rest. Yes, their big yellow thing can provide power to the whole municipal compound, including the RHU. But when it must rest, the RHU turns their red box on for continuity of power - at the RHU only!

Pastrana RHU's genset was hard at work when we visited. We were even still across the road and the nurse who saw us was already shouting her gleeful praises for the "not noisy" generator. Oh well, they have already built a nice "cage" for their unit. Nice!

When we reached Leyte, Leyte's RHU, we learned that they only use it at night... because the town was fortunate enough to already have consistent electric power during the day. At night? Ah yes, there are patients hehe, we almost forgot!

Barugo RHU had a wonderful story. Health workers there told us there's only a few gensets in the whole town. They also learned from the LGU's electrician that the power emanating from this, our 'red box', is more than what the whole RHU needs. Thus, the RHU decided to share this to the public! How? They connected some extension wires with electrical sockets spread just outside the entrance, and voila, FREE gadget charging for the whole town to take turns at! We salute you Dr. Calzita and staff!

Okay, we are going to check out other health units where we gave our silent red boxes, soon. But as of the moment, we already breathe with satisfaction... that things we gave have actually started becoming useful to our happy recipients! "We do not value the sun for its height, but for its use"! So said a journalist of long ago!

By the way, if you wanna know where these generator sets are? These can be found at:
Abuyog RHU1, Barugo RHU, Capoocan RHU, Isabel RHU, Jaro RHU, Javier RHU, Leyte RHU, Matag-ob RHU, Mayorga RHU, McArthur RHU, Merida RHU, Ormoc-Cogon District Health Center, Ormoc-Curva DHC, Ormoc-Linao DHC, Pastrana RHU, San Isidro RHU, Tabango RHU, Tacloban City Health Center, Tunga RHU, Villaba RHU - all in the province of Leyte. In Samar (Western) you can see these at Basey RHU, Hinabangan RHU, Jiabong RHU, Marabut RHU, Motiong RHU, Paranas RHU; and In Eastern Samar, we gave one each to Balangiga RHU, Guiuan RHU1, Llorente RHU, Quinapondan RHU and Salcedo RHU. Of course if you also have stories or observations on these generator sets, we'd be glad to hear from you!



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