We’re Growing our Roots Together! 

2023 was a year of growth for Roots of Health as we moved towards expanding our roots and going further in addressing systemic challenges related to teenage pregnancies and HIV! This was not an easy feat especially in the context of new government leaders, rising inflation and media misinformation. The best way of going about it was to have our stakeholders – government workers, teachers, youth leaders and community members take part in the action.

We are proud to share our 2023 highlights made possible by your continued support!

Expanding our Roots: Systems Strengthening

Our community of passionate changemakers expanded as we trained and continuously engaged 617 local health workers and 75 public school teachers. We recognize the importance of these government frontliners in shaping the experiences of women and young people in Palawan. The trainings helped our partners overcome their limiting beliefs, understand that there are existing reproductive health laws that support their work, and learn the right tools and information to provide age-appropriate sex education and non-judgmental sexual and reproductive health services.

We’re proud of our growing volunteer community! We trained 31 new Youth Advocate leaders and 106 Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) members last year and they are now making our services more accessible by providing peer-to-peer support and connecting young clients to our Youth Clinic.

In 2023, our team also trained 109 Community-Based Screening motivators for HIV, double the number from the year before. Bringing free screening services to neighborhoods is critical in combating the increasing HIV cases in the Philippines, whose epidemic rate has been tagged as the highest in the Asia Pacific region.

Beyond training for information and service delivery, we’re honored to have shared expertise and passion on data management systems with local government units (LGU) in Palawan. We’ve rolled out our Comprehensive Household Information System (CHIS) in Puerto Princesa City, which is an online data collection system that allows government field workers to update household information of people in their communities in real-time. The system harmonizes data across departments and not only will allow LGUs to effectively plan health programs and strategies, but also to respond faster when disasters hit.

Apart from CHIS, our team also regularly dialogues with key decision-makers in the City and 12 municipalities across Palawan to share health data, identify critical areas of improvement, and collaborate on finding solutions for better health outcomes.

Branching Out: Access to Services

We continued to provide critical clinical services. In 2023 we served 4,591 women with reproductive health care in the form of contraceptives bringing the number of clients currently protected from unplanned pregnancies to 17,048.

Our branches continued to reach beyond the confines of our clinics, extending into the communities including isolated indigenous peoples’ villages. We also distributed 20,000 commodities to local governments this year. Inventory support is important to prevent contraceptive stock-outs in village health centers and to ensure that people will receive care whenever they need it.

Responding to the rising cases of HIV in the region, the Roots of Health team ramped up activities for HIV awareness and early detection, screening 1,748 individuals across different communities. We followed our continuum of care by linking individuals who tested positive to needed medical services and mental health support.

We’re always looking for ways to provide the community with credible and engaging sexual and reproductive health information. In 2023, we continued to promote Comprehensive Sex Education by teaching 2,600 students through our in-school program. We taught 2,486 more young people in communities with the help of our SK partners.

Recognizing where our young audience are, we embraced the digital space and pushed further our content to provide localized sex education content for the youth. We reached 15.9 million people in 2023 and generated 4.5 million engagements as we explored more creative formats! We’re gaining traction in doing Facebook live sessions and TikTok videos. Our goal is to enhance the active involvement of our community, provide the right information, link people to reproductive health support, and foster connections.

We were delighted when the national Department of Health took note of our efforts, awarding our work with partners on the I CHOOSE campaign a gold award, and the work of our organization overall a silver award at the 2023 Healthy Pilipinas Awards.

Leaves of Innovation: New Initiatives and Fresh Ideas


To further our pursuit of advancing reproductive health, we explored new initiatives in 2023. These efforts were a direct response to the insights gained from our 2021 youth survey, guiding us in addressing barriers through targeted programs.

The Astig Pre Campaign, a groundbreaking effort aimed at men and boys, addresses a crucial insight – that men and boys can become barriers but also partners to women’s reproductive health. Through educational campaigns focused on consent and healthy relationships, we strive to cultivate a supportive environment that transcends gender norms.

Recognizing pressing mental health care needs, we widened our “Gets Kita” initiative. We provided mental health care support to 84 teens in our Youth Clinic and during efforts in the local city jail, creating a safe space for open dialogue and healing.

We recognize that building healthy relationships is essential to women’s reproductive health and wellness. Our Young Couples Communication program engaged 88 participants in activities centered around effective communication and consent, nurturing the foundations of positive and respectful partnerships. We have introduced this program in two regions beyond Palawan and are optimistic about replicating it in more.

As we embark on the journey ahead, we express our gratitude for your support.

Your continued involvement nourishes our roots and enables us to grow and reach new heights in reproductive health care in our communities.

Together, let’s cultivate a future where reproductive health is accessible to all!

About Roots of Health

Also known as Ugat ng Kalusugan, Roots of Health works to empower women, young people, and families in Palawan, Philippines to lead healthy reproductive lives by providing rights- and results-based educational and clinical services.

Since its inception in 2009 and through the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roots of Health has positively impacted the lives of more than 171,000 women and young people by improving their reproductive health and decreasing the number of unplanned pregnancies and HIV incidence through comprehensive sexuality education and access to modern contraceptives through a clinical services program.

Roots of Health is registered in the United States as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

In the Philippines, Ugat ng Kalusugan is accredited by the Department of Health, the Commission on Population, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Provincial Government of Palawan, and the City of Puerto Princesa.