UST MEDICAL Missions, Inc.-Student Group (MMI-SG), in partnership with the Special Commission on Research and Education of Ohio, USA, provided medical relief to typhoon “Yolanda” victims in New Washington, Aklan, in response to a call from town officials.

“We chose New Washington because compared to the other places like Tacloban, hindi sila masyadong napapansin. Ininvite kami ng mayor doon, so nag-respond kami,” said Medicine junior Diane Sharon Ty, student head of the medical team. “Pumayag din kami kasi security-wise, it was assured to us na magiging safe naman kami.”

A team composed of 13 doctors, five Medicine students, two Nursing students, three technicians, and two priests joined the medical mission from Nov. 16 to 18, providing health care to 2,930 patients. Services offered included free consultations, medications, and minor surgeries such as circumcision and the removal of cyst and benign tumors.

“Our objectives were [to] provide relief goods, give medical relief, lalo na ‘yung first aid and tetanus vaccines, and of course, medical consultations with free medications,” Ty said in an interview.

Ty said infections among children and chronic diseases among adults were the most common problems, apart from physical injuries.

“Maraming chronic diseases like ‘yung mga hypertensive kasi na-wash out ‘yung mga medications nila. Marami rin ‘yung mga kids na may infection kasi nakatira sa evacuation center. Kung nagkasakit ‘yung isa, nagkakahawahan sila,” she said.

MMI-SG received the call from New Washington last Nov. 10, which gave the group only five days to prepare. Most of the funds and supplies used for the medical mission were obtained from sponsors and donations.

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“[We] asked our family and friends if they were willing to donate. We also asked help from our faculty and from the College of Nursing, and alumni. We had a good response,” Ty said.

New Washington, hometown of the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, is the fourth most populous municipality in Aklan, with 42,112 residents.

Other members of the team were Dr. Wiliam Olalia, Dr. Bernardo Cuevas, Nursing student head Katrina Sofio, Dr. Emmanuel Peralta, former Medicine Dean Dr. Graciela G. Gonzaga, Fr. Keith Stripe, and Fr. Joaquin Martinez.

Participating in medical missions lets students help and gain experience in the field, said Ty.

“Importante [ang mga medical missions] in a sense na na-eexpose kami to different kinds of environment, different diseases, so mas ma-aaply ‘yung pinag-aralan [namin]. And it builds compassion,” she said.

Medical missions will also be conducted by MMI-SG in the towns of Tanawan and Alang-Alang in Leyte, Batan in Aklan, and other places in lloilo and Capiz this December. L.B.G. Lelay


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