WHO WE ARE

The Organization  -  Mission-Vision  -  The Team

I. The Organization

Health Care Without Harm-Asia is part of a global network of over 483 member parties in 53 countries.  Our organization is at the center of transforming the health care sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care.

Health Care Without Harm was founded in 1996 after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified medical waste incineration as the leading source of dioxins, one of the most potent carcinogens. In response to this grave threat, 28 organizations came together in Bolinas, California to form the Health Care Without Harm coalition.

We’ve grown into a broad-based network with representatives from various fronts. Our coalition is comprised of hospitals and health care systems; medical professionals; community groups; health-affected constituencies; labor unions; environmental and environmental health organizations; and religious groups. 

HCWH Asia-Pacific took root in 2003, committing to improve healthcare systems in the region. The group’s first project in the area was the Philippine Measles Eradication Campaign (PMEC) in 2004, which demonstrated the possibility of conducting a major immunization campaign without incinerating the resulting waste. The project set a global benchmark that was cited in international conferences. 

In 2005, the issue of mercury in medical and science equipment came into focus. The organization held the first mercury conference in Southeast Asia. The conference, along with the mercury-related accident in St. Andrew’s School in Manila, solidified popular opinion towards the toxic substance.   

Now known as HCWH-Asia, the organization works with strategic partners based in New Delhi, Durban, Dar es Saalam and elsewhere. HCWH maintains regional offices in the United States, Belgium, Argentina and the Philippines. 

II. Vision and Mission

Healthcare providers have a responsibility to turn utilize practices and procedures that don’t harm people and the environment in the long run. Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, said it best in the Hippocratic Oath:  

“First, do no harm.”

For Health Care Without Harm, that line isn’t just a hollow statement. It’s a rallying cry, a call to action. Together with partners around the world, we share a vision of a healthcare sector that does no harm, and instead promotes the health of people and the environment. 

We’re working to help eliminate practices such as poor waste management, the use of toxic chemicals, unhealthy food choices, and the reliance on polluting technologies. The aftereffects of these procedures may negate the benefits that medical professionals strive for in the first place. Our group works to promote more eco-friendly and healthy alternatives. 

The mission of Health Care Without Harm to transform the health care sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment.

We’re also working to promote the ecological sustainability of healthcare practices.

Stand with us as we empower and educate people to Never Do Harm. To find out how you can join our campaigns, email info@no-harm.org.

GOALS 

Health Care Without Harm has eight core goals:

  • Create markets and policies for safer products, materials and chemicals in health care. Promote safer substitutes, including products that avoid mercury, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and brominated flame retardants
  • Eliminate incineration of medical waste, minimize the amount and toxicity of all waste generated and promote safer waste treatment practices
  • Transform the design, construction and operations of health care facilities to minimize environmental impacts and foster healthy, healing environments
  • Encourage food purchasing systems that support sustainable food production and distribution, and provide healthy food on-site at health care facilities
  • Secure a safe and healthy workplace for all health care workers
  • Ensure patients, workers and communities have full access to information about chemicals used in health care and can participate in decisions about exposures to chemicals
  • Promote human rights and environmental justice for communities impacted by the health care sector, while assuring that problems are not displaced from one community or country to another
  • Address climate change Address climate change's critical threat to human health through evidence-based education, policy and action to achieve dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by the health care sector. 

III. The Team

Merci Ferrer, Director of HCWH Asia

For over a decade, Merci has worked to uphold the rights of the Philippines’ indigenous peoples to their ancestral lands.  

She has also worked as co-director of Philippine Development Forum (PDF), a US-Philippine initiated organization that collated facts about the impact of US corporate investments on the Philippine environment. As part of International Dialogue's program in Burma, Merci served as a Program Officer for Initiatives. She is a former board member of Amnesty International Philippine section. 

Merci is a social scientist who graduated from the University of the East, Manila with a degree in Sociology. 

Email: merci@no-harm.org

Faye V. Ferrer, Environmental Health Campaigner 

Faye coordinates the Safer Chemicals Campaign for the region. She also led the first Southeast Asian Mercury-Free Health Care Conference. In 2004, she was responsible for the documentation of the 2004 Philippine Measles Elimination Campaign. The documentation proved that a nationwide vaccination program is possible without resorting to incineration of immunization waste. 

Over the years, Faye has built a portfolio of services with other non-government organizations. As Program Officer for Citizen's Alliance for Consumer Protection, and then as Campaign Paralegal for the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan, she led campaigns that tackled issues surrounding mining, ancestral domains and water rights.  

Addressing the need for environmental conservation, she got involved with Greenpeace Southeast Asia as Logistics/Volunteer Coordinator; Kids for Forest Campaign as Project Coordinator; and the Clean Energy Tour of Southeast Asia as Logistics Coordinator. 

Faye studied Journalism at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. A photographer and journalist at heart, she finished her Diploma in Photojournalism at the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism at Ateneo de Manila University. 

Email: faye@no-harm.org

Sonia G. Astudillo, Communications and Press Campaigner

Sonia is tasked with preparing media plans for Health Care Without Harm-Asia, writing press releases, letters to editors and other media proposals. She oversees the organization’s media coverage and liaises with celebrity supporters.   

She likewise oversees other communications work for the region, which include the website and social media.  She writes a regular column in the People’s Journal Tonight, one of the country’s most-read tabloids.  

Over the years, Sonia has conducted media-related work for diverse outlets, including politics, magazines, TV and other NGOs. 

She was part of the political and media affairs staff for a local congressman. She also worked as Advocacy and IEC Specialist for a fisheries and ocean resources governance project; Editor for several magazines, and Segment Producer for a TV show. Right before joining HCWH-AP, she worked as Asia Projects Assistant and Writing Coordinator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)-Asia Pacific, and then as Head of Policy Research, Writers and Media Group for a Philippine senator. 

Sonia studied Journalism at the University of the Philippines and received her M.A. in Public Policy at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Japan. She is a vegetarian and a certified Sivananda yoga teacher. 

Email: sonia@no-harm.org

Ayesa L. Enrile, Safer Chemicals Campaign Associate  

Ayesa looks into hazardous chemicals used in healthcare, does market research for safer alternatives, and researches the feasibility of safer chemical alternatives in hospitals.  

Her prior work was conducting a nationwide survey on the compliance of hospitals to Philippine Department of Health’s Administrative Order 21, requiring the phase-out of mercury containing medical devices.  

She provides staff support to all other campaigns of HCWH-AP.  She is a licensed nurse and certified acupuncturist. Prior to her engagement with HCWH, she was a healthcare provider, researcher, trainer, and advocate of complementary medicine among community-based health programs for almost a decade.  

Email: ayeth@no-harm.org

Joyce Lanuza, Administrative and Finance Officer

Joyce is tasked with organizational, administrative and financial management.  She has extensive experience in handling donor accounts and requirement to Developmental Organizations. Was administrator for Action Contre la Faim, an international humanitarian organization that focuses on ending world hunger.  She also worked as a Finance Assistant to the United States Peace Corps.  

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from National College of Business and Arts. 

Email: joyce@no-harm.org

Ronnel Lim, Position

Ronnel is the former Program Officer for Anti-Incineration at HCWH-AP. His efforts promoted non-incineration alternatives to medical waste treatment and formed linkages with other environmental groups working on other waste and environmental issues. 

He studied politics at the University of the Philippines and was previously with the Burma Program of the Initiatives for International Dialogue.  

Email: ronnel@gmail.com

BOARD MEMBERS

Michelle C. Sunico, DMD, MOH, FADI, FPFA, 

Michelle is a Doctor of Dental Medicine. She also obtained a Masters Degree in Occupational Health from the University of the Philippines-College of Public Health. She is the Vice-President of the Philippine Academy of Esthetic Dentistry, Secretary of the Academy of Dentistry International Republic of the Philippines Section and Member of the Pierre Fauchard Academy.

Michelle has been a permanent faculty of the Department of Clinical Dentistry of the University of the Philippines for almost sixteen years. She has conducted several local researches involving topics such as proper dental waste management and mercury use. These researches were published in The Journal. 

Atty. Armand H. Mejia 

Armand is an attorney engaged in environmental law. For more than a decade, he has been the Legal Counsel for the Ecological Waste (EcoWaste) Coalition of the Philippines Inc., a Senior Partner at the Loveria Astive Mejia and Velasco Law Offices and Project Coordinator for Angat Watershed Conflict Mediation Project of the Mediators' Network for Sustainable Peace (MedNet). 

He has also served as Legal Consultant for Marine and Fisheries Law Enforcement Project, a project of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and NGOs for Integrated Protected Areas (NIPA) of the Conservation of Priority Protected Areas Project. He was a Staff Lawyer for Tanggol Kalikasan (TK) Inc., a public interest environmental law office and Haribon Foundation Inc. He co-authored two books on environmental protection: Paralegal Training Manual for Protected Areas and The Legal Environment.

Dr. Gina Nazareth, MD, FPCP, FPSN 

Dr. Gina Nazareth, MD, FPCP, FPSN is a nephrologist practicing at St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center and Renal Services Incorporated-Fresenius Medical Care dialysis Center in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, and Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center in Tanauan City, Batangas.

She is presently the National treasurer of the Philippine Society of Nephrology (PSN) and is the former president of the Philippine Society of Nephrology-Southern Tagalog chapter.  She is also a board member of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP). 

When the PCP Southern Luzon chapter hosted the 19th PCP midyear convention at Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Medical Ecology became the chapter's advocacy- and later, one of PCP's main advocacies.

An article she wrote on ways to make the planet greener was published in her In My Green Mind column in the PCP-SL newsletter.

She represented PCP in the anti-medical incineration campaign of HCWH-AP.

Yvette Severo Montecillo, Medical Waste Campaigner 

Yvette is responsible for developing and executing plans that involve waste minimization, promotion of appropriate alternative technology and model hospitals. 

A registered nurse, she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from University of Santo Tomas. She practiced as a staff nurse in University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital Neonatal ICU for more than two years. She was also appointed as NICU Unit Representative for the UP-PGHNA (UP-PGH Nurses Association). 

She thereon worked as a faculty member in University of Santo Tomas-College of Nursing for almost nine years, as a nurse educator of the fields Community Health/ Community Organizing, Maternal & Child Health (specializing in Neonatal Care), Health Assessment, and Health Education. 

Actively involved in environmental advocacies since college, she has worked as a student member, officer and then as faculty adviser for Haribon Youth-UST Chapter (now EARTH-UST: Environmental Advocates Reaching Towards Humanity, a university-wide organization). She has also volunteered as an activist, researcher, data organizer and/or paramedic for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, EcoWaste Coalition, and Health Care Without Harm.    

Email: yvette@no-harm.org