THE City Government of Davao, in partnership with the Child Protection Network, UNICEF, and the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) launched on Monday Tele-Women and Children Protection Unit (WCPU) centers in seven barangays, one medical facility, and two city government offices.

The Tele-WCPU centers will bring free comprehensive medical, psychosocial, and legal services closer to women and children who are victims of abuse with the use of modern technology.

The Tele-WCPU centers are in Barangay Buhangin, Calinan, Marilog, Matina Crossing, Talomo, Tibungco, SPMC- Institute of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Integrated Gender and Development Division (IGDD), and the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).

The Tele-WCPU centers will connect abuse victims to SPMC-WCPU–a multi-disciplinary team of trained child protection doctors, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, developmental pediatric doctors, police officers, and lawyers that will render services such as medical follow-ups, mental health follow-ups, legal, and social services, and a child helpline that provides consultation on child abuse.

The audio and video consultation at the Tele-WCPU centers are offered for free.

Dr. Marie Aimee Hyacinth Bretaña, the coordinator of the SPMC-WCPU, said in an interview with the City Information Office during the launch that with the teleconsultation program the abused women or children no longer need to go to SPMC for follow-up consultations.

“So naay mga barangays diri sa Davao City nga taas ang mga kaso sa pag-abuso, so through aning teleconsultation program ang mga follow-up cases sa mga barangays pwede didto i-agi through online pero ang first consultation sa pasyente diri gihapon sa amoa sa WCPU. So ang among tumong niini para ma-reach out namo sa komunidad (There are barangays in Davao City that have high cases of abuse and through this teleconsultation program the follow-up of the cases in barangays can be done online but the first consultation still needs to be conducted here at WCPU. Our goal here is really to reach out to our communities),” Bretaña said.

She added that after the first consultation at SPMC-WCPU, patients or victims of abuse opt not to return due to distance, financial difficulties, or fear of getting infected with COVID-19 and this teleconsultation addresses these concerns.

“Through this tele-consultation program pwede didto lang sila sa barangay, naay area sa each sa barangay nga murag naay ilahang designated room para didto himoon ang teleconsultation kay kinahanglan man gihapon nato ma-provide ang confidentiality sa pasyente (Through this teleconsultation program, they can do the teleconsultation in their barangays where they are provided a designated room for the teleconsultation because we still need to exercise confidentiality for the patients),” she said.

Gladys A. Manit, a Barangay Kagawad of Barangay Buhangin Proper, told the CIO that the barangays selected were provided with computers by the UNICEF for the teleconsultation and as counterpart, they provided the designated venue where the teleconsultations are to be conducted.

“We provide the venue, which is very conducive for the clients for direct consultation,” Manit said, adding that the trained Gender and Development (GAD) clerk of their barangay and the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children, Violence and Against Women and Children record officer will help entertain the clients.

Manit said that clients should not hesitate to go to their barangay to connect with SPMC-WCPU.

“This is very important to lessen cases to abuse children for this program dako siya mahatag para sa (it could really help for the) prevention and intervention program for the victims of abuse,” Manit added.

Clients can connect with the WCPU helpline through the following contact numbers: 09195174832, and 227-2731 loc. 4339 (SPMC-WCPU). The SPMC-WCPU is open from Monday to Friday, 8 am-4 pm. CIO