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Samar

Project start | 2022

   

Free missions | 1

Samar

A survey of the project in Samar

Life in poverty and seclusion

Thick rain forest, craggy, raw mountain landscape, innumerable rivers, and scattered settlements – this describes Samar, the fourth-largest Philippine island, which is thinly populated and largely undisturbed. Especially the northern and eastern provinces are among the poorest regions in the  country, which is already poor. These regions are repeatedly plagued by typhoons, which destroy not only houses, but also entire harvests.

The Rolling Clinic is coming!

If someone here gets sick, the way to a doctor is so difficult and expensive that most inhabitants try to get well by themselves. This results in a high rate of mother-child mortality, and many children suffer from life-threatening pneumonias. Tuberculosis, severe diarrhoea, and skin diseases are widespread. In accordance with our role models on the islands of Luzon and Mindoro, we also established a Rolling Clinic on Samar to provide basic medical care to the often severely impoverished inhabitants of this isolated region.  The Rolling Clinic team reaches a total of 60 villages with about 135,000 inhabitants in often adventurous tours in a cross-country vehicle, boat, or on foot.

According to our motto, “Sustainable Aid”, we also train health workers on Samar. These are usually women from the local villages who learn to treat simple illnesses and to recognize whether a patient needs further medical care by a doctor. After their training, up to twenty families can be cared for by these health workers. Our training puts medical care into the hands of the local population.

A survey of the project in Samar

Project start: 2021

Number of doctors usually present: two German doctors

Partner: The local organization Sentro ha Pagpauswag ha Panginabuhi Inc. (SPPI), which has been registered in the Philippines since 2007, is our partner. This charitable organization aims to support rural communities on Samar.  The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) provides partial financing for the health-workers’ training.

Structure: The Rolling Clinic drives to 60 villages in six communities in a rotation system so that each village is visited by the doctors once a month. The locations of the Rolling Clinics are chosen so that they are close to where all inhabitants in the project region can easily reach them. Local health workers trained by the German Doctors provide support during Rolling Clinic consultations, which gives them practical experience.  The headquarters with a pharmacy is established in the Dolores community.

Operational areas: 60 villages (Barangays) in the communities Gamay, Lapinig, Oras, Dolores, Jipapad and Maslog.

Most common health problems: pneumonia, infectious diseases, like diarrhoea and tuberculosis, chronic diseases, like hypertension and diabetes, diseases transmitted in water, and undernourishment.

Main areas of focus: Aside from the provision of basic medical care for the inhabitants in isolated regions, we are intensively involved in training native health workers. Disease prevention and health education are further priorities.

A survey of the project in Samar

With the Rolling Clinic in isolated regions

The Rolling Clinic began its first tour on Samar in February 2021. This was the inhabitants’ very first encounter with a doctor, even among older individuals! No wonder, when you consider that doctors and hospitals are hardly reachable and usually too expensive. To get to a doctor, patients must travel up to 36 kilometers, partially by motorboat or motorcycle taxi, or they have to make a strenuous march over the mountains, which is hardly possible for weakened individuals. As a result, diseases are often not recognized or treated too late or incorrectly. The result: Maternal mortality in the Eastern Visayas region 2018 was 56.7 per 100,000 live births. In comparison: In Germany, maternal mortality is less than 4 per 100,000 live births. Infant mortality in the region is nine times higher than in Germany. Many people simply do not have basic health information.

Finally, a doctor!

The Rolling Clinic team must also repeatedly climb into small boats or cover long distances on foot to reach the isolated villages. Sometimes only a small tractor, a so-called ‟Kuliglig”, can manage the difficult path.  Rolling Clinic tours are planned so that each of the 60 villages can be reached once a month. This ensures that 135,000 inhabitants can receive medical care when needed. The volunteer doctors spend the night in the village and continue to the next one the following day.

A huge number of patients want to attend the consultations, and their gratitude motivates the team to continue their strenuous work every day. Pregnant women can get regular prenatal examinations and reduce entailed risks of pregnancy. A pharmacy assistant and a driver accompany the German Doctors on their tours. The health workers provide assistance and translate.  

A survey of the project in Samar

We train local health workers.

Our training of more than 420 health workers on the Philippine islands of Luzon and Mindoro has shown us how meaningful and sustainable it is to strengthen the healthcare system internally. These health workers, mostly women, learn to recognize and treat simple diseases and also to treat emergency cases. Aside from their 33-day theoretical training, they regularly assist us during Rolling Clinic consultations and thereby obtain practical experience with our mission doctors from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. During the consultations they perform tasks, like measuring blood pressure, weighing children, checking the vaccination status, and giving out medicines.

Strengthening the local healthcare system

Training health workers and nutrition experts is a concept developed by and carried out in the Philippines. One health worker should be available as a contact person for questions concerning health for 20 families and thereby about 100 individuals. However, the national training program, which is completed in three days, is far from sufficient. Our training project aims to complement the national approach by providing further training for the health workers and training more health workers. This guarantees basic medical care in the region in the long run. We aim to train a total of 400 health workers on Samar by 2026. This includes nutrition experts, who advise pregnant women and provide supplements when necessary to combat undernourishment among children.

Waiting times are used to provide health education.

While patients are waiting to see a German Doctor, the health workers use the time to explain the commonest illnesses and appropriate preventive measures. They also provide fundamental information about hygiene, like regular hand washing and the correct way to dispose of waste, as defecation in the open is common. Courses in family planning, undernourishment among  children, prevention of covid 19, and first aid complement the topics offered on the courses.

The training components are partially financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ).

A survey of the project in Samar

Poverty is everywhere

According to the 2018 national census, four out of five families in north and east Samar live below the official poverty level! People live in simple wooden and palm-leaf huts. They have no potable water or sanitary facilities. A few people plant their own fields, but most live from fishing or work on the big cocoanut and abacá plantations. Ropes for shipping are made from abacá fibers. These people earn only about the equivalent of 40 Euros a month.

Isolated and disadvantaged

The Pacific Ocean, innumerable rivers, and heavy rainfall – not only during the rainy season – water is everywhere on Samar. Nevertheless, the provision of potable water in isolated villages is poor, and typhoons repeatedly cause widespread destruction. In some villages, whole families are infested with worms (helminths), and dengue fever was so rife during the last rainy season that a state of emergency was proclaimed in East Samar.

All villages in our project area are classified as geographically isolated, disadvantaged areas (GIDA) due to their high prevalence of poverty and geographic remoteness.The closest road is often only reachable by a one-to-five-hour march through rivers and over mountains. Some villages can only be reached by motorboat, especially during the rainy season. Education and healthcare is not available to everyone. The corona pandemic only made things worse.  

Our Rolling Clinics and training of local health workers contribute to a long-term improvement in the living conditions of the population in our catchment area.

Samar

Every donation helps!

10 euros per month can pay for tuberculosis treatment for an adult. 25 Euro are enough to supply 8 sick people on Samar with urgently needed medicine. For 50 Euros you enable medical care with our Rolling Clinic for 15 patients. For 100 euros, 20 children on Samar can receive the vaccinations recommended by WHO guidelines. With 200 Euros you ensure the outpatient tuberculosis treatment of 20 adults for one month. With 500 euros, we can treat 150 people who otherwise would not have access to medical care.

10 euros per month can pay for tuberculosis treatment for an adult.

25 Euro are enough to supply 8 sick people on Samar with urgently needed medicine.

For 50 Euros you enable medical care with our Rolling Clinic for 15 patients.

For 100 euros, 20 children on Samar can receive the vaccinations recommended by WHO guidelines.

With 200 Euros you ensure the outpatient tuberculosis treatment of 20 adults for one month.

With 500 euros, we can treat 150 people who otherwise would not have access to medical care.

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.

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