Samahang Operasyong Sagip held its second in a series of medical and dental mission activities in Barangay Mabini in Basey, Western Samar.
Barangay Mabini has a population of about 4,414 and is one of the communities being assisted by SOS after the massive destruction caused by Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013. Barely recovering from Typhoon Yolanda, Typhoon Ruby battered them again in December 2014 – inundated their rice and vegetable crops, uprooted root crops and banana trees, destroyed their houses.
And as if natural disasters are not enough, community members in Barangay Mabini has to contend with the problem of militarization and human rights violations. Since late 2014, up to six columns of the 87th Infantry Battalion and the 82ndDivision Reconnaissance Company (DRC) have been conducting military operations in the town of Basey, affecting the barangays of Mabini, Manlilinab and Rizal. The military units have been camping inside the villages; restricting the community members’ movement including their farming activities. Two farmers were were arrested by 87th IB soldiers in November 2014 and January 31, 2015.
On February 16, 2015, an estimated 191 families (843 individuals) from Sitio Bagti and Sitio Burabod were forced to evacuate to the Barangay Mabini proper because of the intense situation brought about by heavy presence of military in the two sitios. Twelve houses were strafed; military checkpoints were set up in the two sitios, 15 individuals were reported to be illegally searched at the checkpoints.
The Mabini medical and dental mission is part of SOS’s continuing support to families affected by disasters in Eastern Visayas. The Summer Health Mission aims to respond to the health and medical needs of communities which were badly hit by Typhoons Ruby and Senyang in December 2014; and, militarization and human rights violations in the case of Barangay Mabini.
May 7, 2015, Manila – Despite Typhoon Dodong which PAGASA forecasted will hit the Eastern Visayas Region, the sixteen-member mission team travelled by bus to Western Samar to conduct a medical and dental mission activity of SOS in Barangay Mabini in Basey, Western Samar from May 9-11, 2015. They later joined two more SOS members who travelled by plane to Tacloban and the twenty local volunteers and community health workers in Barangay Mabini. The medical and dental mission team were composed of 2 doctors, 4 nurses, 1 dentist, 11 medical and nursing students, 3 staff of SOS, CHD and HEAD with more than twenty community health workers also providing able support to the mission.
The medical and dental mission in Barangay Mabini was the second in the series of medical missions under the “Summer Health Mission” program of the Samahang Operasyon Sagip in close coordination with network members, Council for Health and Development (CHD), Community Medicine Development Foundation (COMMED) and the Health Student Action (HSA).
STRANDED IN MATNOG BY TYPHOON DODONG BUT STILL WILLING TO SERVE
The sixteen SOS members and volunteers who travelled by bus were stranded for two nights at the port in Matnog due to Typhoon Dodong. Although the weather is fine, typhoon signal number 1 was up in Bicol, thus, to ensure safety, the coastguard did not allow the boats to ferry buses and passengers from Matnog to Samar. Aware that they have been delayed for two days for the medical mission and very concerned about the patients who are waiting for them, all the members of the medical mission team decided to extend their stay in Basey for two days.
After the weather-related suspension of ferry services was lifted on May 10, the medical mission team was finally able to cross the sea from Matnog to Samar; travel up to Barangay Panagmonon in Basay; traverse the Golden River by boat for almost an hour and walk some 3 kilometers from the river shore of Barangay Mabini to reach the medical mission site in the barangay.
As a necessary adjustment to the delay of the main medical mission team, the two other members of the medical mission (a doctor and a nurse), the local SOS volunteers and CHWs decided to proceed with the medical mission activity, still hopeful that the rest of the medical mission team will them join later.
The medical and dental mission team provided needed medical and dental services to 927 community members coming from the different sitios of Barangay Mabini. The medical-dental mission was able to give medical consultation and treatment to 742 patients; minor surgical services to 99 patients (circumcision and cyst removal) and, dental services to 86 patients.
Among the common complaints were recurring cough and colds for children, and for the adults was hypertension and myofascial pains. Some patients were suspected to have contracted tuberculosis. They were advised to have a sputum test, of which the SOS local staff will ensure follow through. A patient was also treated for severe dehydration.
The next batches of medical mission are set on the dates:
- May 16-18, 2015 – General McArthur, Western Samar
- May 28-30, 2015 – Magdawat, Western Samar