Maria Abaca was part of a surgical mission to the Philippines to provide much needed medical support. Maria Abaca talks about her trip and what was accomplished there.
On December 10th, 2012 I arrived at the Calumpit District Hospital in the Bulacan Province of the Philippines just North of Manila. I was there as part of a medical mission sponsored by the Charitable Endowment Support (CES7), No More Poverty, and the provincial government of Bulacan.
When the surgeons and I arrived it was to provide much needed medical attention to people who could not otherwise afford it. 36 surgeries were performed by the doctors over the course of 11 days and these procedures ranged from thyroid and cleft lip and palate surgeries to mastectomies and the removal of cysts and moles that could be cancerous. The doctors worked tirelessly over that week and a half to make sure that they served as many patients as possible and provided as much free medical attention as they could.
Calumpit District Hospital is primarily used as a hospital for gynecology and maternity, which meant that the operating room could not be scheduled or reserved in the event that a woman arrived to give birth. As a result, most of the procedures that were performed were done during late hours and the evening. Additionally, there was only one autoclave to sterilize surgical instruments, which meant that oftentimes the team had to wait several hours for between procedures for sterile equipment.
While some moments were difficult, it was worth every moment. Seeing children, who were once so self-conscious about their facial appearance that they would hide their faces, finally smile was an amazing experience. Getting to know some of the patients while on this mission was definitely a highlight and I could not be more proud of the work we were able to do there.
I hope that I am able to return to this spring when No More Poverty provides another medical mission in the Philippines at San Miguel District Hospital in Bulacan.