(July 2009) Medical Mission: The Pre-Medical Screening Day

by Paola Bianca Jamolin

July 29, 2009. It was the first phase of the Medical Mission organized jointly by ThinkActPeace and the Paris-Manila Technology Corporation Philippine Rural Electrification Project (PAMATEC-PRES): a pre-medical screening day particularly for the residents of Tinaclipan. The Medical Mission proper would be conducted for 17 barangays in Milagros from July 31 to August 1, 2009.

Dr. Shirley Chua, the Milagros municipal doctor and a team of eight (8) medical staff composed of the barangay midwife, a nurse and six (6) other health workers were expected in Sitio Bato to carry out medical consultations for the residents of the barangay.


Pre-Screening Preparations

As the gates of BPV were opened, the first thing that would greet the people coming in were the newly-planted red and white Vietnam roses, and bangka-bangkaan forming the words, WELCOME and BPV.

The grounds were spic and span and newly-planted bermuda grass beautified the lawn. Temporary rock gardens were also installed, adding to the natural ambiance of the beach. Inspirational quotations as well as messages promoting cleanliness and orderliness written in crude wood dotted the area. The Mater Purissima Learning Center was readied for the Open House as most of the people coming that day would be first-timers in Benson and perhaps (hopefully not), it would be their only chance tovisit and see the facilities. The cottage and the cabana were ready for occupancy for the doctors and medical staff who would be serving at the 2-day mission at the Poblacion. Tents were pitched to provide an option for the more adventurousand non-conventional ones.

Thanks to Sr. Lulu’s experience conducting medical missions in Mindanao, the staff were able to set the venue according to what could be expected on such an event. The activities were centered on the two (2) newly-contructed kamaligs: St. Joseph’s for the pre-consultation area (temperature reading, blood pressure, etc.); Mary’s kamalig for the consultation proper, and the adjacent area was the pharmacy. Martha’s ka-malig served as the mess hall for the medical staff. There were signs directing the traffic flow of patients as volunteers were also stationed to key areas to guide patients.

07:30 AM

The first patients arrived. The early birds were from the far puroks of Unidad and Maligaya: mothers carrying their infants in one arm and holding a toddler by the hand on the other, and children in uniform who would probably head for school after their check-up. They stayed in the cottages by the beach for the medical team had not yet arrived.


08:30 AM

A motorboat with a Bantay-dagat logo touched the shores of Bato. Its passengers were Dr. Shirley Chua and her team. Sr. Lulu led them to Mary’s kamalig where Dr. Chua met with her staff to give some instructions and briefing.

09:40 AM

As the first patients were assisted, the barangay captain arrived. With him were barangay tanods and a barangay kagawad who ensured the security of the area during the entire medical activity.

The barangay captain, using a megaphone, announced to the people that they should come back the following day for that was when the medicines would arrive. The captain also donated food which was served to the medical team.


10:40 AM

Mr. Philippe Saubier, PAMATEC-PRES project manager, arrived with unopened boxes of medicines. Volunteers helped in cutting the medicine blisters and sorting them out. Still, medicines for particular conditions like burns and hypertension were unavailable so the patients who needed these were asked to come back the following day or to go to the Medical Mission at the Poblacion. The consultations continued until 12 noon.


After Lunch

A few more consultations and distribution of medicines were done and then it was the volunteers’ and the BPV staff’s chance to be accommodated. When there were no more patients, the medical staff were entertained by Sr. Lulu and the volunteers with cassava cooked in coconut milk. It was the time for the health workers to relax a bit and enjoy the beach after a tiring day of delivering service to the people of Tinaclipan.

At 4 o’clock, a shuttle service fetched the medical team as Sr. Lulu and the BPV staff sent them off.

At this pre-screening, 171 patients were served out of the 1,217 residents of Tinaclipan. These people had minimal access to medical services due to financial incapacity and the mere lack-of-funding of such service in the barangay.