The annual medical mission of the Michigan-based Far Eastern & American Nurses & Allied Professional Associations (FANA) conducted in Calasiao, Pangasinan on Jan. 26-27, 2017 benefited 2,700 indigent patients.
The outreach mission was considered by the town’s officials as a major charity event as it provided free medical, surgical, dental and optical services as well as breast-cancer screening and prevention.
On the first day, FANA missioners treated 870 patients. The next day, the missioners treated 1,830 patients.
Local officials had earlier scheduled a maximum number of patients we could see per day. Through word of mouth, hundreds of indigent patients learned of the mission. This explained the big number of patients with multiple health problems trooping to the venue on the second day.
Fortunately, FANA was ready to attend to all the patients as we brought thousands of medications and supplies.
FANA records show the following:
- There were four medical doctors who treated 2,200 patients suffering from, among others, high blood pressure, cardiac problems, high cholesterol, diabetes, skin diseases and infections;
- Two pediatricians treated 185 children with ages ranging from less than one year to teen;
- Five surgical staff did minor surgeries in a private room;
- Three dentists and 12 dental students attended to 250 patients. They did dental extraction, gave advice on dental hygiene and prevention and provided free toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss; and
- (Optical) Six staff treated 1,300 patient who were given reading glasses with different specs. This was one of the busiest mission groups with the patients lined up even after closing time. It was apparent that reading glasses were too expensive for them. These patients were very contented and happy, particularly the ones who experienced for the time reading with the corrective eyeglasses given to them.
One of the major objectives of the mission is breast-cancer awareness. Calasiao Mayor Arman Buzon became very interested in knowing that Filipino women have the 11th highest incidence and mortality of breast cancer in the world and rank highest at 58 percent among Asian countries. There were 300 clients and 27 pregnant women who took advantage of the breast cancer-awareness program.
Also, FANA trained three local nursing graduates and two nurses in the birthing clinic on the proper procedure for conducting breast examination. We conducted a survey and gathered pertinent data. We demonstrated the breast-screening process with visual presentation and mannequin subjects.
Mayor Buzon and the other local officials were impressed. The municipal council passed a resolution stating that data gathered by FANA’s medical program become permanent record in the municipality. The mayor was encouraged to make the breast cancer-awareness program as a component of the town’s health and wellness program.
We expressed our deep gratitude to our volunteers, 81 missionaries, officials of Calasiao, foundation donors and HAAP (Healthy Asian Americans Project) which awarded grants to FANA through FILAMCCO, local Kiwanis Club as well as to the media people who provided television and radio coverage of the mission.