Project start | 2004


Free missions | 145


Survey of the Cebu project

Dates and Facts

Project begin: 2004

Last mission: spring 2017

Number of doctors: 2

Missions: The German Doctors performed a total of 145 voluntary missions between 2004 and the spring of 2017.

Patient contacts: more than 20,000 treatments were performed annually in Cebu.

Partner: The German Doctors cooperated with the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, a development organization of the San Carlos University.

Structure: healthcare provision in outpatient clinics in slums according to a fixed weekly schedule.

Mission sites: Slums in Cebu city, the garbage dumps on the off-coast peninsula Mactan, and the former fishers’ villages, which, due to incorrect city planning, are now cut off from the sea and impoverished.

Most common health problems: colds, hypertonia, mal- and undernourishment, skin diseases, and tuberculosis.

Priorities: Aside from the provision of basic medical care of the slum dwellers, we concentrated on care for people with chronic diseases. Since their health care has finally considerably improved, we planned to withdraw from Cebu at the end of 2017. Due to the worsening state of security resulting from Islamic terror in some regions on the Philippines, we withdrew half a year earlier.


Survey of the Cebu project

Medical care in neglected regions

The German Doctors work in close cooperation with the local partner organization, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) in the huge city of Cibu on the Philippine island with the same name. This organization’s long-term experience in social work helped the German Doctors identify individual slums with the outlying suburbs of Cebu in which people live who cannot afford a doctor.

Every weekday morning the 2 German doctors and their team of local assistants left to visit two different slum regions. They set up their simple outpatient clinic on the garbage dump or in the inhabited cemeteries. The Philippine coordinator took care of patients who needed to be referred to a state hospital for further diagnosis. This was the only way to ensure that these people would really be admitted to hospital. Without such support and accompaniment, slum dwellers usually would have had no chance to being treated.

The dangerous situation on Cebu has increased so dramatically due to Islamic terror since the beginning of 2017 that we could no longer ensure the safety of our mission doctors. This was, however, only one reason the German Doctors withdrew. Months earlier we noticed a considerable improvement in the medical care of our target group in the state health centers, especially for those with chronic illnesses. The number of patients attending our clinics continually decreased. Therefore, we decided to withdraw from Cibu at the end of 2017.


Survey of the Cebu project

Combatting the widespread infectious disease

It is easy for tuberculosis to spread in the cramped living conditions in the slums of Cebu. This is exacerbated by the inhabitants’ poor nutritional state, which weakens the immune system. Since tuberculosis is relatively easy to cure if properly treated, the German Doctors was committed to combatting this infectious disease in its Cebu project.

Philippine assistants were trained to treat tuberculosis, and social workers repeatedly visited the patients’ families. They tracked down further cases of TB, saw that the people got treatment, and made sure that the medication was taken regularly.

Survey of the Cebu project

How fisher folk become waste pickers

Waste pickers, prostitutes, and fishermen without water: the German Doctors visited these people who live on and from the rubbish tips on Mactan Peninsula outside Cebu twice a week. The ground where the teams set up their examination tables consisted of waste from the metropolis. For the men, women, and children who live here and work as waste pickers, the German Doctors was often the only way to get help for health problems.

The construction of a big highway along the coast cut off numerous traditional fishing villages from the sea. The fisher families thereby lost their independent way of making a living. These village communities are impoverished, and the men try to support their families by working as day labourers. They have no money left to go to the doctor or pay for medicine. The clinics held by German Doctors on the garbage dumps always got a warm welcome.

German Doctors help worldwide

We believe in the right of every human being to get medical care no matter their origin. Therefore our volunteer German Doctors offer medical treatments in developing countries for the poorest of the poor. Whether people infected with HIV, undernourished children deficiency syndromes or people with chronic diseases, we help everyone who needs help.

Our doctors work during their annual leave or retirement for a period of six weeks and waive any compensation. More than 7000 missions with more than 3200 doctors were completed since 1983.