By LEAH P. PEREZ
BAGUIO CITY — This October, fourth year students of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine (SLU-SOM) and the Community Health, Education, Services and Trainings in the Cordillera Region (Chestcore) continued hopping to various communities to introduce and administer alternative medicine like malunggay powder and lagundi syrup, that they have made and tested.
Since 2008, Chestcore along with different fourth year batches of the SLU-SOM on a monthly program have served communities such as Camp 8, Irisan, Ambiong, La Trinidad, Bokod, Bontoc Village, Cayabong, and Ikip, all in Benguet. Last October 5, 6, and 7, they went to Camp 8, Poliwes, and San Vicente in Baguio.
“Yung malunggay powder, hindi naman talaga siya medicine, mas food supplement siya,” (Malungay powder is actually not a medicine but a food supplement) networking and advocacy desk coordinator of Chestcore Marc Mendiola said in an interview.
He explained that the nutritious powder can be mixed with various types of food. It is also easy to make. One, because malunggay is available in the country, and commonly planted almost everywhere especially in the warmer provinces. “Usually, ang pinupuntahan naming communities at binibigyan ng malunggay powder ay yung may mataas na statistics ng malnourishment,” (Usually the communities we distribute the malungay powder to are those with high statistics of malnourishment). he added. As for the lagundi syrup, this is (a plant) equivalent to medicines for cough and asthma.
“Ang obhebtibo naman ng malunggay powder at lagundi syrup, at alternative medicine bilang isang kabuuuan ay ang malaman ng masa na may mga hindi komersyal na mga gamot”. (The whole objective of introducing malunggay powder and Lagundi syrup and alternative medicine is for ordinary people to know that there are non-commercial remedies).
Mendiola said. He also said that hospitals, medical centers, clinics, and even, pharmacies are usually far from the interior communities. “Para makamura sila sa pamasahe at sa gamot mismo, kami na ang pumupunta sa kanila hindi lang para magbigay ng gamot kundi para na rin sa iba pa nilang pangangailangan tulad ng (medical) checkups,” he added. (To save on travel and the cost of medicine, we go to these communities to give these medicines and medical check-ups.)
When asked how are they funded, Mendiola said that “Nakikipartner kami sa ibang people’s organizations.” We deliver services in partnership with peoples organizations especially when they go to far-flung communities. But for short trips or nearby communities, ChestCore raises the funds for the program and to support the fourth year students.
“Our usual partners are Innabuyog-Gabriela and Cordillera People’s Alliance Benguet provincial chapter,” he said.
Most of the participating medical students find the program fulfilling besides being able to help people deprived of this basic service, the volunteer work gives them practical experience to be better doctors.
Chestcore and the students interviewed said that they hope this program partnership will continue to give practical knowledge both to the medical students and to the recipients of these medical missions.
In the recently observed Nurses’ week last October 17, the medical students and ChestCore conducted forums on the democratic rights of nurses, and the building of new chapters in the main hospitals of the City of Baguio. They also distributed some of their health products and malunggay supplements. # nordis.net