BNDees at a Large Health Mission

August 10-16, 2008--Alabel Capitol Gymnasium, Alabel, Sarangani Province – Association Catholique des Infirmieres et des Medecins et des Professionel de Sante or the Catholic Association of Doctors, Nurses and Health Professionals in Asia (ACIM-Asia) spearheaded the Rosa Mystica Health Mission 2008, a weeklong medical-dental activities especially provided for the residents of Alabel and Malapatan. This is the second time that the aforementioned health mission was done here in the Philippines. It was last year, of the same month, that the Rosa Mystica Health Mission first began their noble intention of extending aid to our fellow Filipinos who are in dire need of medical and dental assistance. The Rosa Mystica Health Mission 2007 catered to the people of General Santos City and the neighboring towns. Last year’s successful launching of the health mission paved the way for the conception of this year’s health mission. They moved the venue to Alabel because this municipality only has one public physician, who is catering to an approximate 75,000 inhabitants scattered across the highlands and lowlands, with neither hospital nor a birthing clinic to provide prompt medical attention to the people. In order for these residents to avail of medical-dental assistance, they need to travel to General Santos City. Due to the skyrocketing problems that our nation is facing, our people could hardly afford to have themselves examined for any tribulations with regards to their health. This known fact captured the heart of the organizing team headed by Ms. Yolly Eileen Andrade Gamutan, RN, the Secretary of ACIM in the Philippines. Madame Gamutan took all the initiative for the fabrication of the health mission because she has all the trust and support of the association and other sponsors.

A significant number of local doctors and medical volunteers gave their precious time and effort just to be part of the mission. There are volunteers who came all the way from Korea (three), New Zealand (one), Singapore (one), France (eleven), Poland (one), and local doctors from Iloilo and General Santos City among the others. Local industries such as GenTuna Corporation and Nature’s Spring Water among the others were also tapped to be sponsors of this noble health mission and they have generously contributed. Fr. Daniel Couture, a French-Canadian who is the District Superior of Asia of the Society of Saint Pius X was also present along with Bro. Jonathan and Bro. Pierre Marie Wagner from France and a flock of religious Sisters from Iloilo, Philippines came to join the mission as well. Their focus is to offer spiritual assistance to the people present.

The Alabel Capitol Gymnasium was jam-packed everyday with local residents who would like to avail of the free medical, dental and also most importantly, the spiritual services that the health mission is especially offering.

The local government of Sarangani Province gave the indispensable assistance in assuring the security and tranquility of the weeklong health mission. Amidst the unpleasant news about the emerging problems with the rise of the rebel groups against the government, the health mission continued to be a success because also of the conspicuous support provided for by the government of the province itself for the benefit of its people and the health mission team per se.

The Beta Nu Delta Nursing Society Alumni and members took part in the mission. Excited members managed to be one with a team of both foreign and local medical volunteers in serving the local people. It was such a fulfilling experience for the Betanudeltans because they have acquired immense knowledge from their experienced and professional counterparts. Apart from the fact that you can learn how to speak French and other languages, one can also gain awareness on the health practices in other countries and certain updates on health, which I deem necessary as a passport in entering the realm of health and medicine and as new members of the paradigm of Nursing.

It was such an overwhelming experience because it was highly conspicuous that there are still individuals who are very much willing to share their blessings to the unfortunate people of our land. According to Dr. Jean Pierre Dickes, an Obstetrician, General Practitioner, Forensic Pathologist, Author and the President of the ACIM from France, “there is something in the Philippines that I could not resist to come back”. Dr. Dickes was also here during the previous health mission, this time he brought along with him his wife, a nurse-midwife, and his daughter. Indeed. These foreign volunteers saw the genuine need of our unfortunate Filipino people of health and spiritual assistance, aggravated by the discrepancies in our government nowadays. Furthermore, I could often hear feedbacks from our foreign counterparts, which are extremely inspiring. According to them, people of our land are special in a sense that we can afford to smile amidst the speculations thrown at us by other foreign nations who have negative impressions of the Philippines and of the Filipinos as a whole.

The health mission is not solely materialized to cater to the physical needs of the people but most importantly to feed the spiritual aspect of these individuals. Spiritual replenishment is much more important than physical gratification because the latter is finite whereas the former is more rewarding and eternal.

We may be blinded by the world’s superficial material menace but it is good to know that love and kindness still manage to supersede through the unselfish efforts of our fellow brothers and sisters regardless of race, language and culture. It was indeed a rewarding and a fulfilling experience for everyone who has served in the mission. All of our hearts were simply touched by the powerful grace of our Heavenly Father and we have extended mercy to our brothers and sisters who are in dire need of help.

I felt the positive response and the success of this year’s Rosa Mystica Health Mission and am looking forward for next year. Merci beaucoup beaucoup to those who have participated in the mission and may we continue to share the goodness in us in every entity we meet everyday of our lives so as to continue the love and grace of God from flowing.

Mira Rosali