Conference and exhibition to highlight rural healthcare in the Philippines

An international team of anthropologists, clinicians and artists are hosting a series of events at Keele University about rural healthcare in the Philippines.

Keele University’s research project, entitled Stories of Public Health through Local Art-based Community Engagement (SOLACE), is hosting the events in collaboration with Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, New Vic Borderlines initiative and the Provincial Health Office of Northern Samar.

The conference is on Wednesday 1 May in the Dinwoodie Lecture Theatre in the David Weatherall building from 1pm. The programme of events includes a number of panels, talks, and a showcase of short films. This is a free event and open for all staff, students, researchers and members of the public. To attend please register here.

Keele University will also host the SOLACE exhibition of artwork around rural healthcare in the Philippines. A special launch and preview event will be held on Wednesday 1 May at 6pm in the Chancellor’s Building Art Gallery. The exhibition will run from 2 May until 4 June before moving to the Arete Art Gallery at Ateneo de Manila University.

The research has brought people from a clinical and humanities background together to work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically addressing health and well-being in the Philippines. The team held several community engagement activities with inhabitants of six villages, and aims to understand what it really means to live in an underserved, rural and remote area like the Province of Northern Samar.

Dr Lisa Dikomitis, SOLACE Principal Investigator, said: “It is very exciting to welcome the Filipino members of the SOLACE team here at Keele University. We are really looking forward to sharing the results from a fantastic year of research and engagement activities. Northern Samar is one of the most beautiful, but also one of the poorest provinces (of 81) in the Philippines with many so-called GIDA villages – Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas.

“About half of the province’s inhabitants live below the poverty line. There is also a real and severe lack of healthcare professionals. For instance, many doctors in the Philippines usually do not want to work as primary care public health clinicians in rural, often isolated areas. During our fieldwork the SOLACE ethnographers lived for many months among the locals in Northern Samar, we explored what this exactly means for those delivering healthcare and those at the receiving end of care, both from traditional healers and doctors in the formal healthcare sector. We will present stories from workshops, fieldwork, show short films, and our student ambassadors will share their experiences. This event really is for all - members of the public, students and staff.”

SOLACE is jointly funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Medical Research Council, through the Global Challenges Research Fund.