Our Surpisingly Wonderful Visit at Our Barangay Health Center

Photo courtesy of Google Maps Streetview

I'll have to admit that we had our own preconceived notions when it comes to a non-private healthcare solution like your local health center. Not that we don't trust these facilities but most of us would choose the more expensive route when it comes to our health. Who wouldn't want to pay more than save a buck and suffer the consequences sooner or later. But with the recent polio outbreak in the Philippines, we literally had no choice. The vaccine is only available at public health centers and cannot be purchased elsewhere. As a reminder, if you have kids below 5 years old, it's required to do another dose of Polio vaccination. Do so as soon as possible because POLIO. Now back to my story.

We found ourselves pleasantly surprised. Primarily with how courteous the people manning the barangay health center was. They were friendly and helpful and guided us step-by-step on each requirement. Finding out that we didn't have our vaccines there previously, they didn't judge us and even explained that we could have saved some money if we did, and we could go there in the future for free if we opted to. They even encouraged family planning and were explained that they give out contraceptives to those who needed help. While I won't deny that the experience was more chaotic than your typical Pedia clinic visit, it was at least manageable. 

Here are some additional tips when going to your barangay health center:

1. Inquire about their schedule ahead of time
The barangay health center is a phone call or a few steps away from your home. It should be open Monday to Friday and regular work hours. But in our case, vaccinations are reserved Wednesdays and Fridays only.

2. Be there very early.
Like anything else concerning the government, it's best to arrive extremely early to get the best results. We attempted a few times before we got our son's vaccination and the main reason we failed is that the lines were simply too long when we arrived at a later time after opening. In fact, we went there a half hour before our health center was scheduled to open and we were still tenth in line. 

3. Bring your Baby Book and Vaccine Record
I think this is obvious but don't forget these items. The health center would need these to properly check your child's requirements.  

4. It might be a good idea to bring your Wife
Your results may vary but a lot of the questions also involved my wife's pregnancy. So if it's your first-time to go to your barangay health center when they are creating your child's record, it might be best to tag along your wife.


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