Check-ups, Tooth pulling and Haircuts??

7 12 2017

Yes, you read that title correctly! This November we hosted a Samaritan’s Purse Canada medical mission where we were able to provide all three services and more!

On November 7, a team of ten Canadians (Ken, Dr.John, Mercedes, Erin, Stephen, Kelli, Darcy, Rhonda, Laura and Betty) arrived in Tabuk City and promptly jumped up on top of a jeepney and took off with us to the mountains!

on top of jeepOur team consisted of the ten Canadians (doctors, Nurse practitioners, nurses, an EMT, a psychologist … the list goes on!) and about 30 local church members, midwives, pastors, interpreters and over 20 members of the Philippine Army.

 

We spent the next 10 days together, bringing all sorts of care to some of the most remote places in Kalinga. One of the places we went to was a municipality called Pasil.

 

PAsil view

Pasil was one of the hardest hit areas during the typhoon last year and although we had sent some relief supplies we had not yet been able to go there in person. One of the local churches helped to arrange our accommodations in the village and we had lots of patients waiting to see us. We were so happy to have the local municipal doctor and dentist join us for our mission in Pasil so that we could bring even more services!

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Working with the army was a last minute addition to the mission but I can see in hindsight that it probably was God’s plan all along. We needed a dentist to join our team ASAP and so myself and Cheryl, one of the local pastors, visited the army barracks to ask for help. The commander couldn’t have been more welcoming and he promised to send not only a dentist, but a whole group of soldiers to give haircuts in the outreach villages as well as to be our security.

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During our 10-day mission to Pasil, Lucog and Pinukpuk we were able to see over 500 patients for medical check-ups and counselling, 157 dental patients, over 200 haircuts more than 250 eye exams with free glasses, as well as many prenatal check-ups and blood tests! The team also built a much needed wall in our clinic and 2 brand new tables!

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Thank you SP Canada for sending this team to be a blessing to the people of Kalinga!

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Bugnay Stories

10 10 2017

view of Buscalan

We have been busy getting our Bugnay extension clinic up and running since January this year. Finally in June, all of the Bugnay staff moved up to the centre and began setting up, finishing decorating and organizing and visiting patients!

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The Bugnay clinic staff on their way to visit mothers in a neighbouring village.

Since we opened our doors again in June, we have performed hundreds of Primary Healthy Care check-ups, hiked into 4 different villages bringing prenatal care, and done dozens of emergency hospital transports.

Here is a story about a particularly harrowing transport.

Tribal War!  – by Aisling Lynch (Irish missionary midwife currently serving in Bugnay)

We had just finished up our prenatal day and were tidying up the clinic when we heard that tribal war was declared that afternoon between 2 nearby villages. Less than 30 minutes later an ambulance from the nearby Rural Health Unit (RHU) stops outside the clinic and an armed policeman jumps out calling for help. Inside the ambulance was a midwife friend of ours who works at the RHU. There was a young man in the ambulance who had been shot in the head and was going into shock. Their oxygen tank was broken so we swapped it with ours and as our friend was on her own, I got into the ambulance to help her.

The journey to the hospital takes about an hour and it is a very narrow, windy road through the mountains. Myself and the other midwife took turns keeping pressure on the head wound while keeping the young man’s head stable, all the while checking his pulse and blood pressure. There were no seatbelts in the ambulance so it was no easy task to do this for an hour while being thrown around the back of the ambulance every few minutes. A few times on the journey we could not find his pulse but then he opened his eyes just as we were starting CPR. I have never been so relieved as we passed that final bend in the road and saw the hospital in front of us. It was surreal to start our handover to the hospital staff with “Gunshot wound to the head” all the while with 2 fully armed police officers keeping watch.

The young man was stabilized at the local hospital but as they were not equipped for this kind of injury, he was then transferred 6 hours away to another hospital. The last I heard, he survived his injury and is undergoing treatment for a brain injury.

The journey back to the clinic was just as scary but for different reasons. The lights in the ambulance weren’t working well and then is started raining. Guess what else wasn’t working well? That’s right, the windshield wipers! The driver had to drive with his head out the window so that he could see where we were going. Fair play to the driver though, we made it safely back to the clinic!

We are so excited to have our “Waiting Home” open for mothers hiking from far flung villages to deliver with us. Although we have not had our official “Grand Opening” we have delivered 4 babies so far!

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“Itess” and her new baby girl!

We are hoping to combine the “Grand Opening” with our Christmas party so we will hope that the Dept. of Health will expedite our applications!

I will also try to post more regularly!

 





Thank you for Feeding the Village of Pakak

2 12 2016
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Junior is excited about his two bags of rice!

After the typhoon in October, many people donated money for the immediate needs of some of the villages close by.

There were supposed to be emergency supplies given by the government but as these things go in the Philippines the supplies did not get to where they were needed.

There are 60 families in Pakak and only 2 of them received any emergency supplies from the government.

Because of your that donations, every person in the village received 2 large cans of rice each!

We will continue to help in this village as well as a few more surrounding ones with the support of Samaritan’s Purse.

But for now … enjoy these thankful smiles!

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Medical Mission to the Mountains

11 06 2016

This May, we had an amazing opportunity to work together with a team from Samaritan’s Purse Canada sharing God’s love with the tribal people of Kalinga through a medical mission. The team of 13 people consisted of nurses, dental hygienists, an eyeglass team, support workers and a doctor.

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The team rides “top-load” up to the mountains!

We set up camp at the local high school in Tinglayan and for five days we offered medical check-ups, dental care and eyeglasses for all five Butbut villages. We were joined by some awesome Filipino dentists and a doctor from Manila for a few days while we were in the mountains. That was a great blessing!

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Me, Doc Elvie and Doc Jec – our wonderful Filipino dentists.

After 5 days of clinic in the mountains we attended church in Bugnay together with the village members we had been caring for during the week. We had such a fun time singing and dancing and praising the same God together!

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The Canadian team then had a short break to explore the town of Sagada and take in the caving, waterfalls and pottery. After our break we came back down the mountain to our clinic in Tabuk and did two days of outreach for our patients and neighbours.

During the 7 days of outreach we saw over 1500 people, doing medical check-ups (with free medicines), dental check-ups (with free extractions) and eyeglass clinic (giving away free eyeglasses).

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The team was awesome and as we say here in the Philippines, they were really “cowboys”. That means that they never complained when they had to sleep on hard floors with the bathroom quite a distance away, they ate all the food prepared for them although they weren’t used to eating rice three times a day, and they were just basically a pleasure to be around!

Thank you Tammy, Bernie, Nellie, Tina, Barbara, Barb, Patti, Helen, Wes, Shirley, Joanne, Maria and Conchita!!

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The Samaritan’s Purse team along with our Abundant team on our last evening together.

 

 

 

 





Partners

14 11 2015

We just finished an exciting week with a medical mission team sent by Samaritan’s Purse Canada.

The Samaritan's Purse Canada Team with our midwives on outreach.

The Samaritan’s Purse Canada Team with our midwives on outreach.

The team, consisting of doctors, nurses, dentists, an opthamologist and various supporting members, reached out to six Butbut resettlement villages around Tabuk. Hundreds of villagers had teeth filled or pulled, were fitted with glasses and received medical check-ups from the docs.

One of the best things about the way that SP Canada run their missions, is that they partner with organizations already on the ground to make sure the outreach is not only effective but to also ensure that those who need follow-up, will get it.

 

Some villagers come for doctor check-ups.

Some villagers come for doctor check-ups.

This leads me into sharing about baby Charmee.

We met Charmee and her mother at one of the village outreaches. Charmee’s mother brought her for a check-up to see if the doctor could give vitamins because she was so underweight.

Underweight is an understatement. Charmee weighed 2.7kg at birth two and a half months previously and was now 2.8kg. Charmee was severely malnourished.

The doctor called me over to talk with the mom. We discovered that she was told by someone that she shouldn’t breastfeed because she had a cyst on her breast and now her milk had dried up and she was forced to bottle feed.

Charmee’s mother showed us the bottle that she mixed in the morning and fed her throughout the day until nighttime. At 10:00am the milk in the bottle was already sour and full of ants.

I talked with the mother and asked her to come to our clinic the next day so we could teach her thoroughly how to care for her baby. She told me that she would come. Her neighbors told me that she would not come because she was stubborn.

She didn’t come in the next day … or the day after. My staff and I started to lose hope that we would ever see Charmee again.

But then yesterday I got a call from the clinic to tell me that Charmee and her mom were there!

 

Charmee and her mother at the clinic.

Charmee and her mother at the clinic.

 

I rushed back to the clinic and my staff and I began the process of teaching the mother proper infant care and feeding. (Because she couldn’t read, instead of mixing 8 scoops of formula for 8 oz of water she had only been putting 2 scoops for 8 oz of water!)

We spent the morning teaching her how to properly mix the infant formula, to make only what the baby can eat at one sitting, and to feed with a clean spoon instead of the difficult to clean bottle and nipple. Charmee drank her first 3 ounces and gave us a big smile before she nodded off to sleep for 3 hours.

 

Charmee will be coming in regularly for weight and health checks.

 

Baby Charmee

Baby Charmee

Please pray for Charmee to gain weight quickly and regain her health and strength.

 

Thank you Samaritan’s Purse for helping us to make a difference in our community!





What a Night!

6 07 2015

Last month I had an amazing opportunity to be a part of an unplanned home birth … well it wasn’t planned by me, but it might have been planned by the mom! 

First of all, let me tell you a little bit about the mother. I have known her since she was eight years old. She was one of the kids who used to follow Crystal and I around Pakak when we would visit there back in 2004. I also took her for check-ups when she was 10 and it was discovered that she had TB of the spine. She was successfully treated and recovered well.

Late last year I heard that this dear girl, lets call her Sunshine, had gotten married and was pregnant. Talk about making me feel old! She had been away for a few years working in someone’s house and so I hadn’t seen her recently. When I saw her at our outreach to her village I was surprised to see a beautiful grown up young lady in place of a little girl.

Sunshine came for a few prenatal visits and we were able to provide her with all her prenatal tests. Her pregnancy was very straight-forward and she and baby were doing just fine.

I reminded Sunshine every time I saw her to text us whenever her labor starts and we could come pick her up and take her to the clinic. I said that I would love to be her midwife and she said “Ok”. Ha! I just love the no nonsense Butbut culture. She knew that it was a bigger blessing for me to be her midwife than for her to have me as her midwife!

So one evening last month we got a text that Sunshine was in labor and that we should come and get her quickly. Alex, Claire and I jumped in the car and took off. We knew from prior experience that when the ladies from the village text us, we might only have minutes to get there before the baby is born.

We arrived to find her very close to delivery. She was in her one room, bamboo house with the wind blowing through, keeping it nice and cool. The house soon was surrounded with kids, teenagers and mothers of the community that all had arrived to cheer her on. Sunshine’s mother was also there giving her support in between nursing her own young child.

We set up the emergency birth bag that we always bring with us just in case we can’t get back to the clinic in time – like this time!

Soon Sunshine was pushing and a little while after, a perfect little boy was born. It seemed like the whole village was outside excited to meet the baby. Most of Sunshine’s younger brothers and sisters were in the house and all so excited to meet their nephew.

After the birth Sunshine’s husband asked around if anyone had something to eat for dinner (it was past dinnertime) and no one did. They found some dried beans in the house and put on a pot of rice. Within an hour after the birth we encouraged Sunshine to go and urinate in order to prevent her from bleeding too much. Well, with no bathroom in sight she went outside and found a private bush. While she was doing this her mother got a bucket of water and rinsed out the house. It was an easy task as the floors were made of bamboo and there were big spaces that went through to the ground below.

We checked mom and baby again and then headed back to the clinic.

We midwives all had the biggest smiles on our faces as we drove home.

I had the biggest smile of all as I was so happy that I could help my dear young friend Sunshine as she became a mother.

Everyone getting a look at the new baby.

Everyone getting a look at the new baby.





What’s your excuse?

5 06 2014

Yes, it is true that I have been a bad blogger lately! My excuses are all of the following events that happened in the last few months…

Okay, first off we delivered identical twin girls at our clinic in the middle of March! This was the mother’s tenth pregnancy. In a regular prenatal check-up her midwife noticed that she was measuring large for dates. She was sent for an ultrasound … she came back with a BIG smile on her face and told us that she was pregnant with twins!  About a month later she came back to the clinic in labor. No chance to decide whether or not to take her to the hospital – these girls were on their way! It was a beautiful birth attended by about a dozen excited midwives.

The twins mother is sitting next to Jackie who is holding the babies! A very excited staff and babies' family members all around.

The twins mother is sitting next to Jackie who is holding the babies! A very excited staff and babies’ family members all around.

 

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Aiza and Irish – 2.5kg and 2.6kg

 

 

Next, I got to “catch” my first ever white baby! One of my  missionary-midwives-in training took the whole practical learning experience to another level! Edolbina, and her husband Andrew welcomed their first child Ariel Cornelius on April 29 at 3:12 am.  It was an honour to be a part of Ari’s birth. My boys are a little smitten with this guy as are we all!

Ariel Cornelius

Ariel Cornelius with Lucas and Emmaus admiring him.

I have also been making numerous trips up to our sister clinic in Bugnay over these last few months. My wonderful staff are currently awaiting a new clinical supervisor and so I have been trying to help them out and encourage them as much as possible.

The Bugnay Clinic Staff and their daughters!

The Bugnay Clinic Staff and their daughters!

In May my friend and fellow midwife, Jen Sawchenko and her daughter Ella, along with Filipino midwife Marielyn Basak, visited from Cebu City and accompanied me to Bugnay. They taught at a seminar for the mothers and staff regarding best breastfeeding practices.

Marlene and Jen outside the clinic.

Mar and Jen outside the clinic.

Jen shares at the Bugnay clinic - Ella helps her!

Jen shares at the Bugnay clinic – Ella helps her!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along with all these happenings we still continue to do almost 100 prenatal check-ups and postpartum visits a week and reach out into 3 villages in the community and deliver over 20 babies per month.

Me and Lukay before she heads home to her village.

Me and Lukay before she heads home to her village.

Thank you everyone for your support that makes us able to do all of this!

There are many more stories to tell, but it will have to wait for next time. I have a good one coming … Stay tuned!





Our Second Outreach in the Mountains – by Crystal Meeks

21 05 2011

Anie, Rosela, Crystal and B-lyn hiking through the mountains.

Our second outreach in upper Tinglayan was carried out with more smoothness and excellence than we could have dreamed.  We spent five days hiking through five different Butbut villages that we had never visited before and we held outreaches in three of those villages.  We were more excited than five year olds on Christmas morning as we set off on our adventure hiking through the mountains.  That excitement turned into overwhelming joy with ecstatic smiles that grew bigger with every new village we entered.  We were warmly welcomed in each village and were repeatedly thanked for coming to visit.  Each outreach started with a game to get everyone laughing, worship and devotion, a health teaching, a yummy snack, and a prenatal to make sure all the mothers and babies were healthy.  The midwife in the village of Loccong expressed gratitude for us coming to educate the women on the importance of vaccinations and taking vitamins; topics that she had struggled with teaching.

We learned that even though each village has a midwife, oftentimes, the midwife is only trained in accessing risk factors such as checking a woman’s blood pressure but is not skilled in dealing with emergency situations such as resuscitation or stopping a hemorrhage.  These skills are the difference between life and death for these women where a transport would involve an hour or more hike down the mountain, finding transportation that often does not exist at night, and driving for two more hours to the nearest hospital.  In every village the women requested us to start another clinic closer to them.

We are looking forward to continuing outreaches in the mountains.

Richel checking blood pressures in the village of Butbut Proper.





Outreach in Ngibat – by Crystal Meeks

21 05 2011

Almost to the village of Ngibat!

   The hike to the village of Ngibat while not physically exhausting was the scariest most adrenalin pumping hike of my life!
   It took us more than one hour of sliding down steep inclines to arrive there from the village of ButBut Proper.  Most places was just enough room for one foot in front of the other with the chance of falling in a rice field on one side or a hundred foot drop off on the other.  Just as we entered the village the skies opened and the rain came pouring down.  I was grateful for God’s grace knowing had that rain came ten minutes earlier making that hike even more slippery I would have surely fallen off the mountain and died.
   The next morning we started our outreach and learned that there were only two pregnant women in the whole village.  Now I know what you are thinking all that preparation, insane hiking, another meal of sardines and sleeping on a hard floor for two lousy prenatals?!?  But we were actually beeming with joy and probably even more enthusiastic with this outreach than all the others.
    The guys that had come with us had been playing the guitar and singing worship songs all morning as we prepared the snack of pancit.  When the first woman came in I rushed to interview her.  I found out this was *Marilou’s second pregnancy. Last year in her first pregnancy she had gone for all of her regular prenatal checkups.  Everything had been normal throughout her pregnancy but when it came time to deliver the midwife was not in the village.
    Marilou labored for a day before deciding to go to the hospital.  While in labor she hiked for over an hour down the mountain then took a jeep to the nearest hospital two hours away.  By the time she arrived at the hospital her blood pressure had spiked to 160/100.  She remained in labor another four days until a cesarean section was performed.  Unfortunately after only 30 minutes of birth her baby quit fighting and went to be with Jesus.  Due to her hypertension she hemorrhaged and was left to heal not only a great physical trauma but an emotional one as well.
    Obviously Marilou was extra concerned and nervous about this pregnancy.  During the last part of the checkup I attempted to find the baby’s heartbeat even though it was still quite early.  I prayed to find it knowing this would bring this anxious mother a lot of peace.  I placed my hand on her tummy and moved the Doppler around listening to the static… the guys had started singing again and I found myself concentrating more on their words.  What were they singing that had intrigued me so?  Aaaah,  ‘How Great Thou Art’ in Butbut!  And then there it was… LubDubb LubDubb… We both giggled, smiled and teared up!  Had she been the only pregnant lady in Ngibat that insane hike that left most of us with cuts and bruises would have still been worth it!!!
Yes Lord how great, awesome and amazingly loving you are!
* – not real name




Outreach to the Mountains

15 04 2011

Emmaus and I as we climb the 500 steps to Bugnay

Health Teaching in the village of Buscalan

We just arrived home from five days in the mountains. A team of 10 of us travelled to the villages of Bugnay and Buscalan to do health teachings and prenatal care. We had a wonderful reception in both villages. I was particularly happy that we had so many women attend our seminar in Buscalan as this was our first trip to this village for outreach. I was also so proud of Emmaus who hiked almost the whole way there! We also had the McCauley family join us. Melissa, Ben and little Samuel were a great asset to our team! We will hike into the other three Butbut villages in May. These villages are more remote so we wont be bringing the kids with us!

The team on the way back from Buscalan. L to R (Gracia, Belen, Ben, Rosela, Melissa and Samuel, Marivic, Salome, Crystal, Georgia and Lucas, Ella- missing from picture is Achao because he was taking the pic and Emmaus because he was asleep after a long day of hiking!)

Crossing the bridge into Bugnay.