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December, 2004

Rotary photo.
1. Rotary Club
Rotary photo.
2. Patients
Rotary photo.
3. Worming clinic
Rotary photo.
4. Dental care
nul. nul.

During mid-November, we met Joe Pallette and Tom Howlett, two Americans who are retired and living in the Philippines. They had come to Kookoo's Nest for a weekend while we were staying there. When Tom learned that Jim had been a playground safety inspector he asked if we would come to Dumaguete the following Friday so that Jim could make a presentation to the local Rotary Club to help them with a project to provide playgrounds for local schools. The Rotary Club was also planing a medical mission to a nearby barangay on the following Sunday (see photo #1, at left). Joe was kind enough to provide us with a place to stay, so we decided to make a weekend of it. Jim's Friday night talk on playground safety was well received, and we spent Saturday at Joe's house comparing musical tastes with Joe and his wife, Jackie.

On Sunday, we joined the Rotarians on their medical mission to Mangnao Barangay on the coast just south of Dumaguete. The medical mission, or civac, was held on Melrose Beach, adjacent to the barangay. The patients (photo #2) had been selected in advance by the local health service. They were all in need of medical care, but could not afford the expense. The Rotarians provided logistics and drugs, Siliman University sent doctors and interns, and local dentists contributed time and materials. Everyone involved had some connection with the Rotary club. Joe (a retired fire chief and EMT) checked blood pressures; Jamie assisted at the worming clinic; Tom donated the refreshments, and Jim took photos.

The medical clinic included a visit with a doctor for an examination and evaluation, followed by a prescription for necessary medications. A doctor dispensed the medicines, and provided instructions for their use. The young children were provided with an antihelmenthic syrup, a drug to kill a variety of parasitic worms (photo #3). The same spoon was used for every child. Although this is un-hygenic, the cost of buying disposable spoons would reduce the money available for drugs. This sort of compromise is perhaps regrettable, but it is often necessary.

Local dentists, including Alice Nobles-Reyes (our dentist in Dumaguete), set up a dental clinic on the beach. They were well equipped with dental intruments and an autoclave to sterilize them. Although they saw many patients (photo #4), this was perhaps the least popular clinic. Everywhere, people seem to be afraid to visit the dentist.

The medical mission treated over 400 patients in about 4 hours. Although the facilities seemed primitive, the patients received useful medical care that they could not have afforded, and would not have received, otherwise. The mission was well planned and well organized; the crowds of patients and their families were cooperative, and everything went surprisingly well. The Rotary Club has been providing these medical missions on a regular basis for some time now, and they clearly have everything well worked out. We were impressed.

As usual, Jim took many photos of the action. Here are a few more of them:


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