Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines: Providing a Mechanism for Youth Empowerment towards Advocacy for Birth Defects Prevention and Care

Carmencita D. Padilla,1,2 Aster Lynn D. Sur,2 Ryan John P. Pascual,3,4
Christian Emmanuel P. Enriquez,4 Rufus Thomas Y. Adducul,3,4,5 Ma-Am Joy R. Tumulak,1,2
Eva Maria C. de la Paz,1,2 April Grace D. Berboso,2,6 Conchita G. Abarquez,7
Florencio C. Dizon,8 J Edgar C. Posecion,9 Barbra Charina V. Cavan,9
Maria Melanie Liberty B. Alcausin,1,2 Merlyn S. Mendioro3,10 and Christopher P. Howson11

1Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine and
Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila
2Institute of Human Genetics, National Institutes of Health,
University of the Philippines Manila
3The UPLB Genetics Society, University of the Philippines Los Baños
4Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health
5National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila
6Newborn Screening Center – National Institutes of Health
7Newborn Screening Center – Mindanao
8Newborn Screening Center – Central Luzon
9Newborn Screening Center – Visayas
10University of the Philippines Los Baños
11March of Dimes Foundation

The Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines (VYLH-Philippines) is a national youth network established in 2009 as a model of how to organize young women and men into a national force that promotes self-learning, independence, personal growth and sustained positive public health change from the grassroots level and up.  Formed under the aegis of the University of the Philippines Manila and the Department of Health, the VYLH-Philippines has focused its activities in the past eight years on helping reduce mortality and disability from congenital disorders through awareness programs and support for policy development. This paper describes in detail the organization and extraordinary accomplishments of the VYLH-Philippines to date.

Key Words: volunteer youth leaders, volunteers, rare diseases, birth defects, newborn screening, public health