After a long hiatus from community work due to hard concentration and on the challenges of clerkship, the GOINnovate members are finally in their 4th and final year in medical school. The ADZU-SOM community program for senior medical students has outlined 10 months of community dedication wherein the final activities of their respective CHPs must be completed prior to graduation. Along with this is individual research work as part of the student’s graduation requirement. Armed with more medical information and hands-on experience, GOINnovate is set to return to the bigger field of medical need: the rural community.
On the 17th of July 2016, members of the team have gathered at the school campus with twice as many luggage and food rations to last long weeks away from the abundance of the city. The group consists of 8 members: Anna Rica Barre, Nathanael Sam Besares, Ralph Renon Casamayor, Roxanne Reyes, Apple Mae Roullo, Leo John Siaotong, Fatima Rubyreth Tingkahan, and Marie Louise Viray.
During their first day, the team traveled for 5 hours from Zamboanga City to the Municipality of Liloy in Zamboanga del Norte. Miles away from home, the air became cleaner, the sky clearer, and the vicinities greener. On arrival, the team attended the barangay’s monthly general assembly. A few words were given by Doc Apple with regards to the team’s lengthy stay in the community this school year and more expected house-to-house interactions and health activities due to their individual researches and the completion of CHPs.
The first week in the community consisted of unpacking, cleaning, courtesy calls with Mayor Bolando, Dr. Digamon (MHO), and Liloy Deputy Chief Del Rosario. The community immersion schedule and plans were discussed with them as per protocol. The team was also able to assist the barangay midwife with the deworming program of the elementary school of the barangay, to post notices around the barangay regarding the hataw/exercise routine for hypertensives and non-hypertensives alike, and to prepare the member’s individual survey tools for their researches.
A few things were noted to be new in the barangay. During the last exposure, the barangay sentro started constructing the covered court. It only finished with the elevation of the ground structure and distribution of gravel. Now, the covered court was finally finished on January of this year. The court was smoothly cemented and court lights were mounted and functional. This was a pleasing change from the old court look as the residents could now use the court for recreational and official purposes without the discomfort of the heat, rain and dust.
Another addition in the barangay, and perhaps the most important, is the Barangay Health Center. For years, the barangay would only do away with holding Under Five monthly weighing of Pantawid members’ children in the covered court, and residents would have to pay 15-20 pesos fare to a neighboring barangay that has a health center for immunizations, prenatal checkups, and medical consultations. The unavailability of a satellite health center in the community has produced inaccurate data on population, increased undetected and untreated medical conditions due to insufficient health information, and indifference toward medical support.
This issue has been addressed to the council with the help of the medical students over the previous years of immersion. Fortunately, the council members actively sought assistance of the municipality and were able to procure funds enough for the establishment of the barangay’s very own health center. The health center was strategically built beside the barangay sentro. It was finally completed on the first week of July.
The health center was opened on the second week of the team’s stay in time for the municipal-wide Clean and Green annual evaluation. Mrs. Alma Tanaleon, the midwife for Silucap, Goin, Mabuhay, and El Paraiso, and the new public health nurse, Mr. Mark Palma have committed to a once a week duty in the health center. The medical students have also decided on going to morning duties every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the health center to cater to the health needs of the residents.