NILDA Mameng, a barangay health worker, would traverse the foot bridge in Sitio Hacienda Conchita Villanueva going to the Barangay Sag-ang in the town of La Castellana, Negros Occidental as early as 7 a.m.

Mameng does this from Monday to Friday every week without minding the hazards just to report to the Barangay Health Station to fulfill her duties.

At 67, she is still strong and crosses the sturdy footbridge without fear.

She has to walk more or less 100 meters from her house to reach the bridge that connects Sitio Conchita to the village proper.

She said the 25-meter-long bridge made it easy for her to go to work.

But doing her work before is not easy when the footbridge was not constructed yet.

The bridge is among the many projects under the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi -Cidss).

It is one of the poverty alleviation programs of the Philippine Government being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

It uses the community-driven development (CDD) approach, a globally recognized strategy for achieving service delivery, poverty reduction, and good governance outcomes.

“Thank you to Kalahi-Cidss for constructing this bridge,” she said, adding that the bridge has opened their isolated place which is being divided by the stretch of the Buhangin River.

Mameng shared that for several decades their access to the other side of the village was difficult, especially during the rainy season because their area is faced with risks and challenges when the river swells.

“People would take the longer route to avoid crossing the Buhangin River which is much farther,” Mameng said.

Sitio Hacienda Conchita Villanueva is one of the 36 sitios in Barangay Sag-ang, an upland barangay 12 kilometers off from the La Castellana town proper.

The villagers are forced to cross the river when they need something necessary such as rice and other basic commodities in the town proper, she said.

Also a “trained hilot,” Mameng noted that at times the residents have to use the hand tractor or carabao to fetch her to assist mothers in their birth deliveries.

She recalls that there was a time when she was on her way to another sitio to assist a woman who is about to give birth when the strong water current almost swept her while she was crossing the river.

Luckily, a resident helped and moved her to a safer place.

Mameng added that mothers can now avail of the services of a midwife like her during pregnancies, labor, and birth in the village and town proper without any problem.

“It is much easier to travel (now) unlike before when they have to cross the river,” she said. (PR)