APPO Medical/Surgical Mission: Feb 2019
Location: Silang Cavite, Philippines
Please read one of our missioners experience from the 2019 mission:
A reflection on medical mission experience by Anna Camille Moreno, DO
I was 11 years old when my family emigrated from the Philippines to the United States. My parents selflessly provided me with the opportunity to pursue my dream of receiving a medical education and becoming a doctor. I’ve strongly desired to return to the Philippines one day and give back to the community that instilled the beliefs, values and morals that have shaped who I am today. Currently, I am completing my fellowship in specialized women’s health at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, after finishing my Family Medicine residency in 2017.
In February 2019, I was provided with that very opportunity, when I was invited to participate in a medical mission with the Association of Philippine-American Physicians of Ohio (APPO) that traveled to Silang Cavite, Philippines. The mission would take me to an underserved, populated province in the outskirts of Manila. This non-profit organization has delivered health care in the Philippines for over a decade by providing medical, dental and surgical services. This wonderful mission came to fruition as a result of the hard work and efforts demonstrated by determined members of APPO. These dedicated members spent countless hours planning fundraiser events, meticulously assembling an inventory of medical, surgical supplies and valuable medications that could be of use.
A forum was instilled to collect donated essentials that could then be gifted to the patients, that ranged from footwear, bags of rice, reading glasses to toothbrushes. And let me tell you, it was an absolute trip of a lifetime! This was truly an unforgettable experience spent with a team of fun-loving, like-minded and energetic volunteers from all over the United States. The eclectic census of volunteers spanned all walks of life from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds and encompassed a myriad of medical specialties, all coming together to provide up-to-date, evidence based and resourceful health care to the humble Filipino locals.
This mission was focused on the Filipino patients we served, as they patiently waited for hours in line to see us in order to receive health care that is not usually available to them, due to lack of resources, money, and transportation. In the moment when one sees the look of gratitude on their faces, the wide smiles that spanned from ear to ear, the handshakes and hugs we received from families, all motivate and inspire the deeply rooted dedication this organization possess to serve this underdeveloped country year after year. It is all about the strong camaraderie and positive energy that kept the group going for 4 days, while serving over 3,500 patients in Silang and its neighboring towns.
I encountered a variety of interesting cases from pediatric dermatological conditions, acute appendicitis to amoebiasis! I tended to families infested with both lice and scabies, which could not afford the appropriate treatments available in local drugstores. As a group, we did eye exams, treated acute and chronic medical conditions and preformed minor surgical procedures when deemed fit.
In retrospect, it is easy to get caught up in ones daily routine, without remembering why we are in our chosen professions. After a humbling experience like the mission with the APPO, I have reconnected with my true calling and why I am a physician, to help those in need. I feel lucky and blessed to have been provided with this opportunity and I am already looking forward to the next mission with APPO!
Thank you from the depths of my heart for such a wonderful life experience to both reconnect with who I am culturally and medically…
Dr Camille Moreno is a family medicine trained, women’s health specialist currently on staff at Duke Health in the Gynecology Department. She has also been an APPO CME speaker.