They say prevention is the best cure, but this is not always possible.
Medical Missions are great ways of helping the community by providing basic healthcare which many cannot afford. A number of common medications are simply too expensive for many and a trip to the doctor or dentist are usually saved for extreme emergencies and involves taking a day off work. Which, in a country where many live on a day to day bases, taking a day off is just not an option. A terrible catch 22 of a situation; take a day off and your family starves or continue to work at the cost of your health and run the risk of your family starving. Many common aliments are left untreated and can become progressively worse, leading to larger medical bills in the future, putting a greater burden on the family.
This was a joint medical mission between a church group called Faith Makati and Springboard Foundation.
The overall organizer of the medical mission was Springboard’s very own trustee, J. P. Prado, a practicing doctor and dentist and medical mission extraordinaire. JP had sourced the location, liaised with the local Barangay, raised funds to purchase the medicine, meals for the volunteers, sourced gifts for all the children who came, had military dentists on hand, free ice cream. There was also a drawing corner upstairs, a photo booth and a cinema in the waiting area downstairs. Turns out medical missions are more than just rounding up some volunteers and buying a packet of paracetamols, they are a massive exercise in meticulous planning and hard work. An aspect I had never considered was the patients themselves. They just turn up right? Sort of…they need to know the details of the medical mission, the when and the where. This involves coordinating with the Barangay Captain who would send a team out in to the community to spread the word. They also need to be managed once they turn up, names taken, being shown where to go, this requires a group of supporting volunteers to help the flow of patients. This all takes organisation and time.
Privacy is a subjective concept here in the Philippines. Consultations, tooth extractions, wart removal all taking place in full public view whilst circumcisions occurred in relative privacy behind a black curtain. I stood watching teeth getting pulled whilst, just on my periphery, children were happily drawing away and eating ice creams. It was strange. On the day, the doctors, dentists and volunteers saw over 200 people from the community of Bangkal. 200 plus people now healthier people returning back to their homes.
If you would like to donate to or sponsor any future medical missions, please contact us on 8215449 or here and put ‘medical mission’ as the subject heading. Or if you would like to help or would like to volunteer in the future, please contact us and put ‘Volunteering’ as the subject heading.