Foreign medical donations (in the form of equipment, supplies and medicines) have always been viewed by the Department of Health as much needed assistance and support to augment the gaps where local resources are limited or are not enough to allow for such provisions (DOH, 2011).
The Government of the People’s Republic of China has donated eight (8) mobile clinics to the Government of the Philippines through the Department of Health (DOH). The donation is part of the grant of more than 100 million pesos offered by the Chinese Government to the Philippine Government to implement the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation signed on 15 January 2007, when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao paid an official visit to the Philippines (Chinese Embassy, 2010). These mobile clinics are intended to serve as ancillary services to the operations of the recipient hospitals most especially in priority and underserved areas. As such, the mobile clinics are expected to benefit the poor and vulnerable groups in the catchment areas of the recipient hospitals/clinic. The mobile clinics, with their quality equipment and easy mobility and accessibility, were sent to the hospitals and medical centers in Davao, Zamboanga Del Sur, Cabanatuan City, Palawan, and Metro Manila. They are expected to improve medical conditions and provide first-aid services to people who find it difficult to get access to them (Jerry E. Esplanada, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2010). The clinics will be used for diagnosis, surveillance, and treatment of common diseases. Fortunately, Ospital ng Palawan is one of the chosen recipient hospitals of these mobile clinics.
Healthcare is a universal human right. According to the Constitution of the World Health Organization, one of its principles says “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, and political belief, economic or social condition”. It is also stated in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 25 “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control”. In connection with these, the Ospital ng Palawan Mobile Clinic is actively delivering free health services to the identified priority areas in the City of Puerto Princesa.
The Mobile Clinic is an extension service of Ospital ng Palawan. As part of the provision of quality health care to every individual in need, and public health program advocacy, Ospital ng Palawan is utilizing the China Donated Mobile Clinic in outreach activities.
The said medical vehicle was officially received in Ospital ng Palawan Compound on May 16, 2011. A Mobile Clinic Committee was created by the Former Chief of Hospital Dr. Glorifino M. Juan, Jr., composed of a Chairperson/Coordinator Dr. Dexter D. Feliciano, Vice Chairperson/Assistant Coordinator Nurse Jabbar A. Sultan and 2 members MedTech Jennifer Rabang and RadTech Jeannelou M. Cayao. The four mentioned personnel were the ones previously sent to attend the orientation at the Department of Health Central Office sometime in February 2011. The Mobile Clinic Team was built composed of Physicians, Nurses, Nursing Attendants, Dentist, Dental Aide, Pharmacist, Medical Technologists, Laboratory Aides, Radiology Technologists, Health Education and Promotion Officer, Driver/Mechanic, Utility Worker, and Electrician.
The China donated mobile clinic is fully equipped with automatic hematology analyzer, digital ultrasound, ECG machine, X-Ray machine, blood centrifuge, oxygen concentrator, urine analyzer, blood chemistry analyzer, pharmacy refrigerator, OB-Gyne electric table, defibrillator, glucometer, and others.
The Ospital ng Palawan Mobile Clinic offers the following services for free:
1. Medical Consultation
2. Dental Consultation / Tooth Extraction
3. Diagnostic and Laboratory Services such as Chest X-Ray, ECG, Ultrasound, Urinalysis, Complete Blood Count, Platelet Count, Blood Typing, Urinalysis, Random Blood Sugar, and Blood Smear for Malarial Parasites
4. Circumcision (seasonal)
5. Dispensing of Medicines
6. Health Education and Promotion
The first outreach program of ONP Mobile Clinic was conducted at Barangay Irawan, Puerto Princesa City on September 16, 2011 led by Coordinator/Chairman Dr. Dexter D. Feliciano. A total of 327 beneficiaries were served. Dr. Feliciano resigned from Ospital ng Palawan in late 2011 to pursue his specialization in Baguio General Hospital. Nurse Jabbar A. Sultan was designated to assume the post of Dr. Feliciano as the ONP Mobile Clinic Coordinator. From 2012, ONP Mobile Clinic waved the flag of the Department of Health and Ospital ng Palawan by conducting 39 outreach programs in areas within City of Puerto Princesa.
Ospital ng Palawan is open for collaboration with other government agencies and Non-Government Organizations. All requests for the utilization of the mobile clinic from other organizations other than the hospital shall be submitted directly to the chief of hospital at least two months prior to operation. All requesting organization shall agree and be responsible for the safety and security of the mobile clinic, its personnel and volunteers. The requesting organizations shall agree and should provide the basic needs of the mobile clinic personnel and its volunteers such as food, water and accommodations. They should provide all consumables e.g. diesel, brake fluid, oil and any other bus consumables, medical, minor surgical and dental materials and medicines (Feliciano, et al. 2011).
Most of ONP Physicians, Nurses, Nursing Attendants, and other members of the Mobile Clinic Team who are joining outreach activities are volunteers. They are not getting extra payment/salary and they are not expecting anything in return. Most of them are arranging their schedule of duties just to serve wholeheartedly in the delivery of free health services to our fellow Palaweňos. These people are truly considered heroes in our time. The top level management of Ospital ng Palawan headed by Chief of Hospital Dr. Melecio N. Dy, Chief of Medical Professional Staff Dr. Alma F. Rivera, Chief Nurse Agnes B. Palao, and Supervising Administrative Officer Gloria M. Bayaban are in full support to all outreach programs of the team.
As of this writing, Ospital ng Palawan Mobile Clinic conducted 43 outreach activities and served a total of 12,862 individuals. The Ospital ng Palawan Mobile Clinic Team will continue its journey to better serve our needy fellow Palaweños.
JABBAR A. SULTAN, RN, MSN, EMT-B
Mobile Clinic Coordinator
Ospital ng Palawan