A philanthropic spirit is built into the Doctor.com ethos. Our team in the Philippines has been giving back to their communities by making an annual trip to less fortunate areas of the country, where they hand-deliver backpacks to young students. But this spring’s strong typhoons thwarted their efforts to bring school supplies to the more remote regions in time for the school year, which started in June. So, they came up with a plan B — and it was wildly successful.
Turning the focus to healthcare
Having raised more than $1,000 USD, the team put this money toward medicine and the supplies needed to set up a free, temporary clinic in Santa Cruz — a mountainous region outside of Manila.
In June, four doctors, three dentists, and six Doctor.com volunteers made the six-hour trek from the country’s capital to Santa Cruz. There, they provided free checkups, tooth extractions, and minor surgical procedures to some 600 patients of all ages in a rural community that has limited access to basic healthcare. The mission itself came in the wake of a typhoon that left many Santa Cruz residents — primarily farmers and fishermen — unable to work, and the financial strain had forced them to forgo medical care. Our team was able to administer this care as well as vitamins to those who had gone without it for too long.
Bringing the mission south
After finishing the mission in Santa Cruz, the team had plenty of medicine and vitamins left over. Knowing it would either expire or be discarded, they decided to undertake another mission and distribute healthcare to communities in the southern part of the country. The next destination: Misamis Oriental, a province in Northern Mindanao.
To raise the additional funds needed to make the trek, our team in Manila put in some extra hours and used their overtime pay to finance the mission. They set out by van in mid-September, more organized and better equipped now that they had one full medical mission under their belts. But 48 hours into the drive, another typhoon blew in, and a no-sail policy stranded the group at the second port. Instead of turning back, however, the intrepid crew waited the storm out and managed to make it across the next day.
Caring for communities that need it most
The Misamis Oriental community visited by our team faces several challenges in accessing adequate care. First, it doesn’t have a permanent hospital or clinic. To reach the nearest place of care, residents have to walk 10+ kilometers along poorly maintained mountain roads.
Enter, the Doctor.com volunteers! While heavy rains meant postponing the clinic’s opening by one day, it remained in operation all Sunday, allowing them to tend to another 600 patients.
Planning ahead for 2019
The success of these missions has inspired our team in Manila to plan a repeat for next year — this time combining the medical component with the distribution of school supplies. Their goal is to raise even more money and spend two to three days in each location so they’re able to treat a greater portion of the population.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in the success of these missions! We’re inspired by the work you continue to do to better your broader communities.