Arvie, a 4-year-old bound for cleft lip operation. Photo by: Eli Hiller

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MANILA — After a three-hour-long journey, it was noon by the time Roanne Puod, social service assistant from the Philippine Band of Mercy Foundation, finally reached her destination: a 20 square meter shanty made of bamboo materials and bare flooring. As she entered, a little boy with big round eyes in a faded purple jersey peeked into the dimly lit kitchen.

It was Arvie, the 4-year-old bound for cleft lip operation the following day. Arvie has cleft lip and palate, a condition that is estimated to affect 1 of every 500 to 700 live births globally. The condition is surgically treatable, improving a patient’s health and well-being.

But there are roadblocks on a patient’s journey to cleft surgery and rehabilitation. In Arvie’s case, it was his family’s circumstances and location.

Continue reading the full feature story on the last-mile challenges to UHC in the Philippines.

For a closer look at the innovative solutions designed to push for progress on universal health coverage around the globe, visit the Healthy Access series.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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