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!





An Emergency Transport in the Mountains

5 03 2015
The amazing and beautiful staff at the Bugnay clinic.

The amazing and beautiful staff at the Bugnay clinic.

I just got back yesterday afternoon from a quick trip to the Bugnay clinic. I was taking one of our partners from Samaritan’s Purse to see the clinic there and also to drop off one of the Tabuk supervising midwives to spend a few weeks with the staff in Bugnay.

While there, the staff updated me on one of our very high risk patients. Mary* had been repeatedly admitted to the hospital for signs of pre-eclampisia throughout her pregnancy and repeatedly sent home “better”. She was now only seven months pregnant and was sent home again from the hospital two days before. My midwife Rema had done a home visit for her that day and her blood pressure was sky high again and she was so swollen that she had a hard time moving around. Rema and the other staff told Mary that she needed to go back to the hospital again. Mary decided she would just follow the doctor’s advice and return on Friday for her regular follow-up check-up. My midwives asked me if I could try to convince her to go back to the hospital. They knew that at any moment she could have a seizure or a stroke and then both she and the baby would be lost.

I agreed to visit her and try to convince her. So just before myself and Raija-Liisa (from SP Canada) left for Tabuk, we went to visit her in her home. I was praying silently as we approached her house that God would give me compassion and the right words to say. When I saw her lying in her bed, so swollen from her feet to her chest, and checked her blood pressure to see it was off the charts,  I was filled with compassion. We spent about an hour with Mary discussing her options and in the end we decided instead of taking her back to the closest hospital (who kept sending her home) we would take her back with us to Tabuk.

The midwives at the clinic started an IV line on Mary (which wasn’t an easy feat with all her edema) and we lay her down in the back of the car and drove to Tabuk. When we reached the hospital, the doctors and nurses immediately started caring for her. Her blood pressure was even higher than when we left Bugnay and she was starting to have severe headaches. The staff were unable to find the baby’s heartbeat. They were planning to get her prepped for an ultrasound when Raija and I left her in the hands of the very capable staff.

A few hours later I received a text from the doctor that she had performed a cesarean section and delivered a stillborn baby. Mary’s life had been saved but unfortunately not her baby’s as well.

It is heartbreaking to think of Mary’s loss, but I know that if she hadn’t had the C-section on that day that her life could have been lost as well. (The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery of baby and placenta. There is no other treatment. If left untreated, eclampsia will cause multi-organ failure, seizures and/or stroke and ultimately death for the pregnant woman).

Please pray for Mary and her family as they grieve their loss.

Please pray for the Bugnay staff as they continue to grow in strength, skill and wisdom in dealing with these very difficult cases in such a remote area.

(*not her real name)