Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Balikbayan group holds medical mission in LC

By Dominic B. dela Cruz
Staff reporter

Laoag City—A balikbayan group based in Northern California served thousands of Ilocanos in a one week medical, surgical, dental and optometric mission in this city.

The Philippine Medical Society of Northern California (PMSNC) and the Agkakabsat International in cooperation with the Laoag City government of held the medical mission from January 18-22, 2016.

The mission held medical and dental at the Laoag City Hall; while the surgical and optometric mission were held at the Laoag City General Hospital. The mission was open for all Ilocos Norte residents.

Naida P. Raugh, the Agkakabsat International founder and chief executive officer said hundreds of boxes of medicines and medical equipment were delivered to the city for the mission. Prior to the mission, Ms. Raugh explained that they transported more than 50 balikbayan boxes containing supplies and medicines.

During the first day of the mission on January 18, 800 patients showed up. The total patients served reached 10,000 for the mission’s whole duration.

Ms. Raugh added that they sought out indigents to be their primary patients. They, however, treated anyone who walked in in the two venues.

She disclosed that at least 200 PMNSC and Agkakabsat doctors, nurses and other personnel joined the mission. Doctors from Manila and Ilocos Norte as well as doctors from Saudi Arabia also participated in the mission.

The mission aims to help Filipinos and Ilocanos to bridge and connect the local government Units with the groups around the world for the delivery of basic health services to those who need proper health care treatment, with special focus on the less fortunate who could not afford hospitalization for medical treatment. 

She said the Agkakabsat International was formed through social media with the one primary intention of helping Filipinos acquire medical care, and to alleviate poverty and suffering.

Ms. Raugh, who originally came from Apayao but studied at a Laoag City college for her nursing course. She later taught at the province’s state university for six years.

For this reason, she said the group chose Laoag to be their mission destination as a way of thanking the city government and the provincial hospital who helped and supported her by sending her abroad for international leadership conferences.

Ms. Raugh also thanked Laoag Mayor Chevylle V. Fariñas for the LGU’s full cooperation by providing their counterpart for the mission. These included the transport of the 40-foot container van, the availability of LCGH, providing security and other personnel needed for the mission.

Ms. Raugh expressed hopes that they would also serve her home province of Apayao in their next mission. She added that they have also received requests from Tarlac, Isabela and Ilocos Sur.

Ms. Fariñas, meanwhile, also expressed her gratitude to PMSNC and the Agkakabsat International for this opportunity to help the people of Laoag and Ilocos Norte.

Ms. Fariñas said the city government thru the LCGH conducted first screening to those who needed surgery.

The mayor also sought the help of the tri-media for the information dissemination on the big mission.

She divulged that the planning for the mission lasted for one year. The results, she added, was generally successful as well as orderly.

The mission also provided pre- and post-medicine to patients for free.

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