FANOGCS Medical Mission 2023

FANOGCS Medical Mission 2023

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Making a Difference

The Filipino-American Nurses Organization of Grand Canyon State (FANOGCS) conducted their medical-dental-vision mission last October 20 -23 at Laoag, City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It was a successful event where 1,700 patients were seen. Most patients went to avail of a combination of medical, dental and vision services resulting in a total of approximately 3,400 services rendered. 

There were 20 FANOGCS members who participated.

The FANOGCS member-volunteers were: Melody Orillo, Maila Gee, Alain de la Cruz, Donnabella Maglalang, Ricky Maglalang, Ajay Manabat, Amy Laxamana, Billie Sparenga, Emee Olivares, Genevieve Crabajales, Armida Ranjo, Marissa Gregorio, Susan Araneta, Elda Lippke, MeAnn Damaso, Shalimar Salas, Billie Sparenga, Marivic Guanson, Gloria Leyesa and Flordeliza de Peralta

Some came with their friends and families who also served as volunteers.

1,700 Patients were helped during our medical mission.

The mission was in partnership with the City of Laoag , San Lorenzo Charity Clinic and the Diocese of Laoag. Upon completion of the mission, there was a surplus of supplies so we were able to give dressing supplies to a local school nurse in Isabela, dental supplies to a local school dentist, pediatric medicines and school supplies to White Cross Orphanage in San Juan and Grace to be Born Orphanage in Pasig, Manila. We received a warm welcome from Laoag City Mayor Michael Marcos Keon who hosted us for dinner at Amici Resort Hotel in Barangay Balacad. Then Vice Mayor Carlos Farinas treated the group for an evening of fun at a local night spot with live bands and open bar.

Diocesan Bishop Renato Mayugba had a delicious lunch prepared for us and for local volunteers after a Sunday mass at St. Mary’s Seminary in Laoag City. 

All in all, there were a combined total of 140 US-based and local volunteers. Prior to the nurses’ arrival, 17 balikbayan boxes filled with supplies were shipped from Arizona to Laoag. 

Our thanks to Emee Olivares for the safekeeping of those boxes. Most of the items needed for the mission were provided by the organization. Additional medicines were purchased in the Philippines using organization funds.

During the mission, different sections were set up which included the medical department where a team of local doctors generously gave their time and expertise for patient consultations; the dental department had about 10 local and US-based dentists providing extraction services to a large number of patients. Under the dental department, a team of dedicated volunteers handled the sterilization of dental instruments that kept the dental procedures flowing smoothly. The vision department team checked the vision of patients and distributed reading glasses to the needy people of the city. We observed there was such a great need for eyeglasses among the local residents. The medical intake team was responsible for making sure all patients were registered and in obtaining their medical history. The patients received color-coded arm bands to identify whether they needed medical or dental or vision or a combination of services. Most patients received multiple arm bands. 

Local volunteers were very helpful in taking care of logistics that included having a suitable place for the general assemblies and a place for volunteers to rest. The logistics team also took care of meals and snacks for the volunteers; they handled purchases to replenish medications; made sure that workers had bottled water and provided security and crowd control at the entrance and exit sites.

Lastly, the financial department kept up-to-date accounting for all disbursements and expenses. Overall, it was beautiful to realize that everything just fell into place. We left behind 2 new portable dental chairs for the City of Laoag Rural Hospital and San Lorenzo Charity Clinic. The donation helped to cement the friendships established in this wonderful collaborative mission work.

Author

Melody Orillo

FANOGCS President 2022-2024

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