It has been exactly a year ago when the small community hospital who has been in existence for just a little over two years was visited and became the base of operations of Dr. Cathy Panlilio-Arzadon’s team of dedicated medical professionals.
To most of these people, having the surgical procedure done was life changing, as they would not have had any other means to do so.
I didn’t mind playing second fiddle, working in the background and making sure that prior to surgery a medical cardiopulmonary evaluation was done and when the surgical team did their part, patient care did not end when they were wheeled from the recovery room and later discharged from the hospital as they still had lifelong illnesses and other ailments to be taken care of, long after the surgical team have taken flight, their generosity and unselfish services needed elsewhere. And all this done, free of charge and at no expense to the patients.
In hindsight, what they did were more than just mere dole outs, as what usually happens when people do medical missions just for show.
To borrow the words of Dr. Cathy, who I believe is currently somewhere in Sorsogon doing the same thing all over again:
Our group was created in 2000 and it’s first medical mission was in Guagua, Pampanga in 2001. We have since been to towns in Zambales, Batangas, Tarlac, Bulacan, Romblon, Palawan and Pampanga.
We bring a team of 60 medical and non-medical volunteers, we pay for our own hotel, air fare and food. All funds collected are used to purchase medications and supplies in the Philippines; shipping donated surgical supplies from the USA to the Philippines; purchasing, upgrading and maintaining our medical equipment and instruments stored in our bodega in Pampanga.
We provide FREE services in the following specialties: general surgery, plastic surgery (Cleft lip/palate repairs), minor surgery, dental (extractions, cleanings, fillings), optometry (eye exams, eye glasses), health & wellness classes and rehab services; pharmacy.
We are working within a very meager 20-30K USD budget. Every year we aim to raise 50K so we can purchase additional instruments and medical equipment to make our group fully equipped for our surgeries and dental procedures but sometimes we do not reach the 50K goal and yet still manage to serve 1,500 to 2,000 patients in spite of the low budget.
We go to a hospital equipped with our own anesthesia machines, monitors, suction and cautery machines; we have dental chairs and dental units which enable us to perform procedures without having to rely on hospital equipment which are oftentimes old and unreliable.
Our website, although not that up to date (not to make excuses but all our admin staff and officers are volunteers, have full time jobs and do what they can to keep MMOM running) has photos and information about our group, please visit it if you can http://www.medmissionusa.org
We are a 501 c 3 organization comprised of kindhearted volunteers who take 7-14 days off from their busy lives to work for free…to help strangers from another land who have needs far greater than our own.
Our volunteers do the trek over and over again in the hopes of changing someone’s health therefore impacting them as a person, their family and ultimately their community. How cool is that?
Whatever help you may send our way will be greatly appreciated…prayers,well wishes, your time, talent or financial assistance has a place in the deliverance of much needed help to our kababayans…
It doesn’t take much to effect change in this world. Much like as a butterfly takes flight can cause hurricanes somewhere else in the world, these small ripples of change will somehow impact the lives of countless others.