For the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in Leyte and Samar, rebuilding their lives has not been easy. But they find comfort in the various non-government organizations and private institutions that are committed to help them move forward and overcome the trauma caused by the destruction of Yolanda. Rebuilding the lives of the victims involves not only providing them the needed infrastructure, housing, and source of livelihood but also ensuring their health and well-being. SM Foundation, in line with its health and medical programs, has conducted medical missions soon after the onslaught of Yolanda not only in Tacloban but also in interior towns of Leyte that were equally devastated by the typhoon. Samar has likewise been visited by the Foundation’s medical team together with its group of volunteer doctors and nurses.
This year, follow-up medical missions in Yolanda-affected areas are among the calendared activities of SM Foundation. These medical missions are in fulfillment of SM’s commitment to continuously provide medical and health services to the victims. From June to July, six medical missions have already been conducted.
The first follow-up Operation Tulong Express (OPTE) medical mission for 2015 was conducted in Abuyog, Leyte. The beneficiary barangay was Sta. Fe, one of the heavily devastated barangays identified by the Department of Health. With the help and support of project partners DOH Central Office – Visayas-Mindanao Health Cluster, DOH Regional Office VIII, Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, Provincial Health Office, Kapwa Ko Mahal Ko, and the local government office, 461 residents were served. This is SM Foundation’s 53rd medical mission for 2015, and its 1,072nd since 2001.
Aside from Abuyog, a follow-up medical mission was also conducted in Tolosa, a town heavily damaged by floods and winds. Two weeks after the destruction of Yolanda, Tolosa was immediately visited by the SM medical team where 500 beneficiaries were attended to by the doctors and provided with medicines via the SM group’s pharmacy. During SM Foundation’s follow-up visit in June 2015, 386 beneficiaries were given medical attention including chest x-rays and ECG.
At the Tabon Tabon Health Center, a medical mission was conducted to benefit Barangay Bonifacio in the municipality of Tabon Tabon with 392 residents availing of medical services. The Tabon Tabon Health Center was the 1st Health Center in Leyte renovated by SM Foundation after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda to service the needs of the community and its neighboring municipalities.
In Samar, OPTE follow-up medical missions were conducted in two barangays each in Catbalogan City and in the municipality of Gandara. Volunteer medical personnel attended to 1,143 beneficiaries in these two missions. Aside from the DOH and provincial and city health offices that extended their support, the Philippine Dental Association – Catbalogan Chapter members were on hand to provide dental service. The Pasay-Parañaque Medical Society also joined the mission as part of their society’s outreach program.
The latest and 6th OPTE follow-up medical mission was conducted in Calbayog, Samar which benefited 514 residents in the area. It is also the Foundation’s 60th medical mission for 2015.
With its recent acquisition of its fourth mobile clinic, SM Foundation’s medical missions aims to visit more areas so that its medical services can be availed by a larger number of beneficiaries. Its mobile clinics are used in the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao while another one is exclusively used in the NCR missions.
Other towns visited by SM Foundation’s medical team include Guiuan, Marabut, Basey and Hernani.