Canadian Medical Mission Society (CMMS) 2013 MISSION TO MINDANAO
The 8-month long planning for the Canadian Medical Mission Society's (CMMS) 2013 community outreach endeavor culminated in a successful completion of a two-week medical-audiology-dental-surgical mission to General Santos City, South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces in Mindanao, Philippines.
The CMMS mission team left Vancouver on February 09, 2013 carrying with them surgical and dental equipment, supplies, medications and the enthusiasm of helping the poor people in Mindanao who are faced with critical health concerns. Although, everyone in the team was excited to be a part of this charitable work and looked forward to making a contribution to a person's life, they nevertheless also had reservations about going to a place in the southern part of the Philippines, for the first time. Many had received caution about possible risk to their safety because of reported crimes in the region. However, the desire to contribute in alleviating the health challenges that the poor suffered from, was more overwhelming. So the mission team forged on and on February 11, they landed in Manila after a 14- hour flight and then boarded another domestic flight for their final destination in Mindanao.
On the first week of December 2012, the team sorted out and packed medical, dental and surgical supplies which were shipped ahead and arrived at the Mindanao Medical Center ( MMC) two weeks prior to the mission schedule. MMC, a privately-owned tertiary hospital, was the base of the CMMS mission work. The first task of the team volunteers when they arrived at the hospital was to unpack 21 balikbayan boxes to set up supplies needed for the various services that started on February 12, 2013.
The local DSWD worked tirelessly in screening indigent patients who benefitted from the range of medical-dental-surgical services performed by the Canadian Medical Mission Society. The team attended to over 1200 patients with 60 major surgeries and 118 minor surgeries that included thyroidectomy, mastoidectomy, nasal polypectomy, tympanoplasty, parotidectomy, cleft lip repair, fibroma excision, and lipaectomy; 1,180 dental extractions from 712 patients and 206 dental restorations, 175 audiology screening and hearing tests. There were a total of 88 hearing aids dispensed to patients with a six month supply of batteries provided. The hearing aids were donated by audiology suppliers from Canada and through Health Partners International ( Canada), Natrapharm, Inc. (Phil.), various medications were also dispensed to patients.
A four year-old patient who presented with encephalocoele was referred to Manila by one of the team surgeons for a needed surgery, as CMMS did not have a neurosurgeon in the team. All the members contributed to send this young patient for treatment at the Dr. Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center through the assistance of the Philippine Band of Mercy and the Hydrocephalus Foundation of the Philippines. Another young patient with a hearing problem was sent to Davao for further treatment with the collective financial assistance given by the CMMS team.
There were a total of 65 volunteers from Canada and the Philippines who joined the mission, composed of surgeons, anaesthesiologists, dentists, family medicine specialists, nurses, audiologists and support staff. The dedicated volunteers from Canada included Dr. Dan Vargas who headed the mission; Dr. Bayani Ignacio, general surgeon from Sydney, Nova Scotia; Dr. Aimee Mabini from Toronto, Ontario; Dr. Andy Chan, Dr. Kristelle Cheung; Dr. Ed Buenaventura; Dr. Rowena Balleza; Dr. Eugene Colobong; Dr. Divina McNary; Dr. Lindsay Ho Chung, Beth Dickinson, Toni Vargas, Rosemary Taylor, Rey Borge, Tina Maher, Cora Ignacio, Maria Paz Villacrusis, Maria Mata, Merlita Sulvita, Nida Marcelo, Michael Gartner, Akime Webb-Gartner, Amy Grant, Patrick Teodosio, Rose Casilla, Issa Robedillo, Lovelia Episcope, Maria Greaves, Tessie Villanueva, Melissa Villanueva, Vanessa Pozon, Rene Trinidad, Val Balleza, Rick McNary, Laurie Hearty, Liberato Mata, Edith Colobong, Svetlana Obodovskaia, Tess Trinidad, Pablo Mabini, Brian Davidson, Perlita Borge, Brittany Grant, Henry Mayuga and Evelyn Mayuga, who is the over-all coordinator of missions. A team of plastic surgeons from the Philippines also performed OR procedures and cleft lip surgeries headed by Dr. Jesusito Zubiri; Dr. Cesar Yabut, Dr. Arsenio Cabungcal, Dr. Michael Galicia, ENT surgeons; Dr. Karen Dumplao, Dr. Genilou Jimena, Dr. Scheherazade Tan, Dr. Arlene Cala-or, Dr. Francis Villarin, and Dr. James Dumdum. Dr. Joy Bellen and Dr. Naia Arafiles, were the anaesthesiologists; Dr. Simoun Suguitan, dentist, Dr. Ruben Arafiles, orthopedic surgeon were also with the team and a number of Philippine support staff namely Mariano Robles Jr., Rizza Lao, Wilma Obusan, Grace dela Cruz, and Jose Atilano completed the CMMS mission team.
Another successful humanitarian endeavor has been completed with the collaborative efforts of the Canadian Medical Mission Society and the RD ( Rodrigo Sr. and Dolores Rivera) Foundation Inc. from General Santos City. The RD Foundation staff worked dedicatedly and untiringly in ensuring a smooth delivery of this community outreach project. The Mindanao Medical Centre, through the generosity of its president, Dr. Lorendo Espinosa, and Dr. Warren and Sarah Jane Manilay, President and Financial Officer respectively, of Goldenstate College of GenSan, and a number of other commendable partners, made the mission a great success.
The work, nevertheless, continues for the members of CMMS as it gets ready for another fund raising efforts to support its next mission. It is sponsoring a golf tournament at the Northview Golf and Country Club in Surrey on July 13, 2013, with a luxury car as a major prize for its Hole-in One (HIO) contest. Everyone is invited to generously support this charitable endeavor, and inquiries can be directed to Dr. Dan Vargas, at firstname.lastname@example.org; Mel Cruz, at email@example.com; Edward Teodoro, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Evelyn Mayuga at email@example.com.
Evelyn C. Mayuga
04 March 2013