US-based Pinoys Hold Medical Mission for Yolanda survivors

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TACLOBAN CITY – More than 4,000 indigent people in this city and nearby towns benefitted the two-day medical, dental and surgical mission organized by a group of former Tacloban residents now settled in Southern California, USA.

The mission that concluded on Tuesday, has gathered thousands of members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, whose impoverished situation deprived them from seeking professional health services.

The Taclobanon Association of Southern California has raised about $42,000 from its members and friends to fund the biennial medical mission.

Cecille Delgado-Aguilos, head of the medical mission, said that about 2,000 indigents availed the various medical services, 2,000 for eye examination and provision of reading glasses, 400 recipients of dental services, and 41 beneficiaries of cataract surgery.

“After super typhoon Yolanda, we asked the victims what kind of help they need most. They told us that they really need medical services from us,” Aguilos said.

For the 2016 medical mission, the group held the activity at the Holy Infant College (HIC) and nearby Mother of Mercy Hospital. This is also in partnership with the hospital, HIC, and Leyte Normal University (LNU). Many of the group’s current officials are alumni of LNU.

The mission has brought 22 US-based Filipino doctors and 20 Manila and Cebu-based doctors to Tacloban. This is on top of hundreds of local health workers and volunteers who took part in carrying out the project.

Mary Frances Makabenta, lead coordinator of surgical mission said they’re happy to see people having hopes of restoring their clear vision after the cataract extraction.

“We had the screening for cataract surgery prior to mission to make sure that those who would avail are the poorest of the poor. This is badly needed by the poor because the surgery costs about P20,000 to P30,000,” Makabenta said.

Ramon Duarte, the organizer’s chair of the board of directors said they have been raising money every other year for this noble project.

“We have a biennial cultural event every Christmas in Southern California where we raised funds. This is also the time where we plan mobilizing our time, talent, and treasure towards providing essential medical services to residents of the Leyte and Samar provinces,” Duarte shared.

The 200-member association led the first medical mission in this city in 2003 and followed in 2006. The association made the activity biennial starting 2009, but in 2013, they diverted their medical mission funds for more immediate needs of super typhoon victims.

The An Taclobanon Association of Southern California is a socio-civic organization formed in 1984, carrying out various project for the benefit the US-based community and those in Tacloban.

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