Environmental Health Risks in the Philippines - Doctors of the World

Environmental Health Risks in the Philippines

How Environment Impacts the Health and Wellbeing of those living in the Philippines


In the Philippines, Doctors of the World has initiated a health and environment project in San Andres, in the city of Manila. Most residents there live in informal housing and shacks crowded into low-lying land that used to be swamps and which today remain regularly flooded during the rainy season. DotW has been working with these inhabitants since 2018 and supports them in identifying and mitigating the risks associated with their precarious living environment.

The intervention initially started in Barangay 775, a district in Manila, and was extended in 2021 to Zone 84, an area where nearly 40,000 people live. Activities and community mobilization have been supported with the help of volunteers from the “AYOS” project (“Let’s go!” in Tagalog).

DotW supported the creation of the local organization by integrating the project’s historical volunteers. Together and with our support, the inhabitants of Area 84 and volunteers of the organization have worked on making their neighborhoods “clean, green, and safe”.



Emergency Response to Environmental Disasters:

In early 2021, DotW continued its intervention in Catanduanes in partnership with the NGO Handicap International (HI, Humanity & Inclusion), after Typhoon Goni hit the Philippines in November 2020.

DotW set up a 3-month emergency response, supporting local health structures with equipment and medicines, and distributing hygiene kits to the 700 most affected families: this response has enabled continuity of care for nearly 12,000 people in the region.

As the Philippines is a country particularly vulnerable to disasters, we have also decided to formalize the collaboration with Handicap International (HI) in order to be able to rapidly deploy an emergency response together. 

Finally, in the same month, Super Typhoon Rai caused a wave of destruction in the center of the country, affecting nearly 10 million people, destroying or damaging 1.7 million homes and 300 health structures. In coordination with the United Nations and other NGOs, DotW launched an emergency intervention in the Province of Palawan, with the distribution of medical equipment, medicines and hygiene kits.


In 2021, as part of our humanitarian mission in the Philippines: 

  • 4,000 families have been made aware of COVID-19 and disaster preparedness
  • 3 local health units have been set up in 3 Barangays of Zone 84
  • 26 health staff and volunteers from these units were trained in first aid and the care of people with chronic illnesses



Photography: Lam Duc Hien