Medical Mission

Of Tradition, Healthcare, Service and Community-building

February 3, 2023

Revised: February 5, 2023

“Deeds of giving are the very foundations of the world.”

-Mishna, Pirkel Avot 1:2

Sulu Garden Foundation, Inc. (SGF) has co-sponsored the medical mission with the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion just this January 18, 2023, as part of their 36th founding anniversary. Locals of Barangay Riro-an, Igbaras, Iloilo, and nearby communities came in the morning to visit the barangay’s multi-purpose hall as they availed healthcare services stationed throughout the area. These services included: (1) medical checkups; (2) checking of vital signs; (3) dental assistance; (4) haircuts; (5) circumcision operations; (6) free medicines; (7) the giving of food packs provided by DSWD; (8) and even slippers for children.

Below shows the Google maps for Brgy. Riro-an, Igbaras, Iloilo; Sulu Garden Foundation Inc. Headquarters and Camp Monteclaro Headquarters.

This year’s medical mission was also made possible with the help of other agencies such as the Philippine Army Finance Center (PAFC) Iloilo, which had a hand in subsidizing the event; Department of Health (DOH), whose medical practitioners volunteered to conduct general checkups; the local government unit (LGU) for manning the event registration aside from the PhilHealth registration; Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 6, for providing 300 food packs; and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) who were in charge of the dental services station.

Over three hundred fifteen (315) boxes of medicine were provided by SGF, which ranged from painkillers, antibiotics, antacids, antihistamines, antihypertensives, antidiarrheal, anti-inflammatory, anti-anemia, anti-spasmodic medicines, analgesics, and vitamins. SGF also funded some of the surgical gloves, syringes, and other disposable equipment needed in dental and circumcision operations.

Pre-registration of the event started as early as 8:00 AM, with villagers from Riro-an and neighboring barangays lining up for the medical services.  

SGF sponsored dozens of slippers as gifts for the children.

To gain more insight and perspective of the overall event, SGF’s Norielle Diamante (Senior Science Officer) and Tiffany Xu (Research Associate) interviewed some of our beneficiaries.

Thank you so much sa medical mission kay nakabulig gid sanda kanamun”, said Myrtle, 11 years old, who came an hour early with Alliyah (age 11), and Myca (age 12) from Bug-a Elementary School. They initially came to avail dental services upon hearing from their school teacher about the occurrence of a medical mission; later on, the three were also able to receive slippers that fit and expressed their appreciation.

May Antonette (age 33) from Bugag, Igbaras, Iloilo came with her three children of ages 3, 6, and 11 due to persistent cough. They were informed of this medical mission through the efforts of the Sangguniang Kabataan.

The key contributors who made this medical mission possible were also interviewed. Mark John Estocapio and Andeline Eblacas from the local government unit (LGU) expressed that it was their first time coordinating with the Philippine Army in such an endeavor. The two also mentioned that the medical mission was organized because of the efficient station assignments for each healthcare service.

Coast Guard Lt. Junior Grade June Marc Padua, who was assigned to the dental services unit, joined the coast guard in 2011 and was commissioned as a nurse. He said that the essence of these medical missions is to bring the most basic health services to the farthest-flung areas. Remote areas are widespread, yet people here are not able to avail of healthcare unless they strenuously travel to the town or nearest city. More importantly, he noted that medical missions before only consisted of the medical and dental aspects. Now, it is good to see that food assistance is also given.

Mr. Jacob Lorella, a board member of SGF; graduate of B.S. in Pharmacy at the Central Philippines University (CPU), and an aspiring pharmacist-in-training, also praised the successful conduct of the event as medicine supply was sufficient, multivitamins were available for growing children, and that locals were able to acquire a month’s worth of maintenance medicine. He took the time out of his schedule to volunteer and described the experience as fulfilling.

Below is the total amount of beneficiaries in the different services rendered during the medical mission:

Medical Check Up –145 persons.
Dental –125 persons
Haircut – 60 persons
Circumcision – 20 persons
Feeding Program – 400 persons
Gift Giving – 250 persons

This medical mission is reminiscent of other previous medical missions that always sought to uphold the tradition of equal public access, genuine service, and undivided community building.

We wish to express our sincerest appreciation to the volunteers who made Medical Missions memorable and spiritually satisfying.

Written by: Research Associate, Tiffany Xu (See profile)

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