Reaching out to the Southernmost Island
The MEDCAP aimed to reach out to the indigent people of Bongao and to the marginalized populace of the remote island communities, who were transported into the mainland, to avail of the free medical consultation, medicines, vaccines, dental extraction, eye examination and eyeglasses as needed, haircut, and reflexology.
The municipality has no allotment for health from the provincial government. Hence, the municipal government is outsourcing to materialize a medical outreach, which intends to alleviate the immediate medical needs of its constituents that will lead to a gradual improvement of the general public economy. When a patient has serious medical illness, they have to travel to Zamboanga city, usually taking the 18-hour travel via boat, for appropriate medical services.
Four hundred and thirty seven patients of Bongao were served at the mission: 174 patients for medical consultation, 46 patients for reflex foot therapy, 110 patients for dental extraction, 30 patients for eye check up and 64 for haircut.
Simultaneously, in the parish church a few steps from the mission area, rosaries, scapulars, and medals were distributed among the Catholic community, through the assistance of Our Lady of Holy Rosary parish priest and staff.
The employees of the municipal government were so happy to receive rosaries and catechism pamphlets before the mission.
|Lanjal kamu: Welcome to the Joint MedCAP !|
Barangay Bunbun, Patikul, Sulu - 9 hour vessel ride from Zamboanga City. The area is so remote that there was no signal for mobile phones, except in a specific single spot. The team arrived very late on the night prior to the event.
|The port of Barangay Bunbun|
The medical civic action program started at around 9AM. Patients were registered and their initial vital signs and their baseline data were taken before they could enter the camp. Services that could be availed of inside the camp were dental consultation and extraction, medical and ophthalmic consultation and tests, vaccination for children, bloodletting, and minor surgeries.
|Dr Bagongon and the opthal team conducting test for a patient|
Of course there was also a pharmacy where patients could get their free medicines. ACIM Asia was in charge of dispensing the medicines. A volunteer pharmacist whom we worked with during the March 14, 2012 ground zero MedCAP was also there, unexpectedly. He and his friend translated the instructions on proper medication in the local dialect – Tausug. Health teachings were also injected during the distribution of medicines.
|Baby receiving a vaccination|
Many locals took advantage of the rare opportunity for health relief given to them. The area is very remote and land travel is perilous, so health workers cannot easily access the area, and sick locals cannot also easily go to hospitals. This mission brought special joy to patients and mission volunteers alike.
April 28, 2012
The team served 100 patients for general medicine (both
adult and pediatric), 45 for ophthalmology (free
eyeglasses given according to their specific need), and 12 patients for minor
April 28, 2012
We left the MBLT 11 camp at around 17:00 and went to Jolo, Sulu. The team stayed in KHTB, a military camp in Jolo, for the night until the next day's medical outreach.
|Kids playing Apple Eating Contest, among other games, during the medical mission|
The program had already started when we arrived. As we busied ourselves in setting up the medical mission venue, the rest of the crowd engaged in tree planting. The mission was conducted in Sitio Bayog, mount Bayog, Talipao, Sulu, in a small school that had only 2 rooms. We set up one room for the medical consultation, dental services and opthalmologic check up, while we assigned the other room as the pharmacy and minor surgery area. The barbers were installed in the open field, next to the feeding area.
|Our Lady - our inspiration, refuge and strength in the mission..|
Health of the sick, pray for us!