Mission Update: Philippines 2013 - How to Adopt a Hospital

Sunday, 24 February 2013 was Day 1 of the World Surgical Foundation's mission in the Philippines. After traveling for over 24 hours, not including the loss of a day thanks to the International Date Line, WSF volunteers were well rested and able to finish work that was started over a year before.

The World Surgical Foundation adopted Coron District Hospital on 4 December 2011 and this mission is the culmination of that endeavor. The 40 foot container sent to the hospital arrived in several truckloads. All of the boxed goods were already there when WSF arrived at the hospital on Sunday morning leaving two flatbeds filled with crates of all the heavy medical equipment. And since the hospital is located on a relatively undeveloped island in the Philippines there was no forklift. So with a hammer, a screwdriver and a lot of muscle, the doctors, nurses and volunteers along with local help unloaded the crates by hand and began to fully equip the hospital.

Coron District Hospital is the first hospital in the Philippines to be adopted by a foreign organization. WSF is using this hospital as a model for future adoptions to come. And this mission follows suit being the mold for the third and most important part of the World Surgical Foundation's mission to collaborate. By adopting a hospital WSF is promising to be different than other medical organizations. Instead of doing drive-by missions to never return, WSF strives to make a real difference in the lives of the people they touch. Because WSF was able to send all the equipment that a modern hospital needs, Coron District Hospital can serve as a base for future missions not only by WSF but also by local Philippine doctors who can return with regularity.

Another part of collaboration is apparent with the equal contingent of local Philippine doctors on this surgical mission. By having local doctors come and join WSF, sustainable healthcare is achieved. Followup care is a must with many of the complicated, life-saving procedures performed by WSF so having local doctors available in the event of difficulties ensures patients will receive just that. And teaching the local doctors how to perform these same procedures makes it possible for WSF's work to continue well beyond the dates of any given mission.

After finishing the setup of the ORs and stock rooms, Day 1 was complete. World Surgical Foundation did not have patients to screen because local doctors were able to do that before WSF arrived saving time and allowing our local counterparts to participate before the mission even began.

The day ended with a brief ceremony by Governor of Palawan, Abraham Kahlil B. Mitra, thanking the World Surgical Foundation for their generous donation, adopting the hospital and promising to continue providing needed help in the future.

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