By Dr. Cesar D. Candari, California USA
A very successful and magnanimous achievement of humanitarian endeavor was concluded last February 26, 2002 when the Texas Association of Philippine Physicians returned from a recent medical and surgical mission to the province of Antique, Philippines, led by Dr. Leonidas Andres, a Far Eastern University alumnus.
The delegation was composed of 26 physicians with various specialties and 10 RN's and local volunteers. Approximately 2576 patients were seen for consultation and treatment in the towns of San Jose, the provincial capital of Antique, and the northern towns of Culasi and Pandan ( 987 in San Jose, 681 in Culasi and 786 in Pandan). These missionaries served several neighboring towns and baranggays of each of these places from January 21 to January 25, 2002. Major and minor surgical procedures were performed in each of these places of mission, totaling 156 cases (67 major surgeries in San Jose, 39 major and 42 minor surgical procedures in Culasi, and 8 minor surgeries in Pandan). The common major cases operated were thyroidectomies, hernia repairs, hysterectomies, and gall bladder resections.
The principal sponsor of the mission was the Antique Circle of USA (ACUSA), assisted by the Pandan Antique Foundation, Inc. (PAF) and Pagtatap USA in the Pandan mission. Dr. Cesar D. Candari of San Diego, California, and originally from Pandan, assisted in the coordination of the Pandan mission. All three organizations are based in California.
Drs. Leonidas Andres and Adelfa Yap Andres of Anahuac, Texas, planned and chaired the medical mission whose sole purpose was to help alleviate the physical ailments and health problems of the needy, the poor and indigent population of the province of Antique. The Andreses are originally from Barbaza and Culasi of Antique. Unfortunately, Dr. Andres returned
home to Texas on an emergency reason and was unable to be present in this mission. Dr. Arsenio Martin, President of the Association, and Dr. Mario Castillo took over the co-chairmanship instead.
Dr. Martin said, "It is simply our selfless and genuine desire to be of some significant assistance to our countrymen, particularly the poor people of Antique who otherwise may not be able to obtain medical care in their lifetime."
The medical mission had a busy and hectic schedule. The missionaries ministered to hundreds of the sick children and adults who presented a myriad of needs that cannot be enumerated here. The group felt that most of the illnesses they saw were typical of poverty caused by malnutrition and inadequate sanitation. Many anemic, upper respiratory infections, and EENT problems were seen in the pediatric populations. Almost every patient complained of coughing and some form of upper and lower respiratory ailments including pulmonary tuberculosis.
Despite the physically exhausting endeavor, it was a satisfying experience for everyone in the medical team to see patients with gratifying and smiling faces and hear them say, "Salamat po doctor sa inyong tulong sa amin. Hulog po kayo ng langit" (Thank you very much for your help. You are all manna from heaven). RN Loida Candari said, "Their faces of gratitude were indeed touching."
The members of the mission were: Dr. Arsenio Martin, Dr. Fe Martin, Dr. Nellie Martin, Dr. Mario Castillo, Dr. Sonia Castillo, Dr. Cesar D. Candari, Dr. Edgar Borda, Dr. Chris Polvoroza, Dr. Licerio Castro, Dr. Daisy Castro, Dr. Dorothy Matamorosa, Dr. Fred Arcala,
Dr. Avila Arcala, Dr. Archie La Madrid, Dr. Vivianne La Madrid, Dr. Jeng Conferido, Dr. Donabel Anico, Dr. Pacifico Dalisay, Dr. Vic Fermo, Dr. Rey Manzo, Dr. Ferolino Karl, Dr. Ricardo Francisco, Dr. William Candelario, Dr. Florentino Ibabao, Dr. Panes, Dr. Lim, Dr. Alcalen, Dr. Tanchuan , Jovy Fermo RN, Dina Garcinella, RN, Honeychille Andres RN, Loida Candari RN, Narzeneth P. Moscoso RN, Mary Ann Ancheta RN, Lou Manzo RN, Zenaida
Tubianosa RN, Shellane Pinzon RN, Nely Imperio RN, Ruth Agustino RN, Gina Martin, Sixto Moscoso, Dr. Quirico Escano, Michael Montoya, Jinky Limos and Marilyn Tan (mission overall coordinator).
The project could not have been a success without the undying support of ACUSA, the many volunteers in Antique, and the remarkable hospitality of a host of provincial and town officials led by Governor Sally Zaldivar Perez and Congressman Ex Javier, the Rotarians of Antique, and the local hospital personnel.
To all of them, the Texas Association of Philippine Physicians expresses its sincere thanks and gratitude. Dr. Martin said; " I would like to thank the Antiqueños for their warm welcome and hospitality. Foremost is our appreciation of our patients for their trust in all the physicians, nurses and the whole team. The food in Antique is second to none. We will be very happy to do this again in the future".