MANILA—‘Doctors on Boat’ project of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) this weekend went to Cagayan province to bring aid to flood victims after Typhoon Ulysses wreaked havoc on several areas in Luzon last week.
Dr. Benito Atienza, president of the PMA, the oldest organization of doctors in the Philippines founded on 1907, in an interview in DZRH Special On Saturday (SOS) program (November 21), said the ‘Doctors on Boat’ is their way of reaching out to flood victims and give them medical services and relief goods by riding rubber boats the Philippine Coast Guard provides.
“Nakasaad sa aming code of ethics na during the time of calamity, epidemics ay ang mga doctor dapat nanduon, except ang kanyang kalusugan ay at stake ang nakalaan. Kaya ang Philippine Medical Association ngayon ay may mga projects para tumulong sa ating mga kababayan, lalo na sunod-sunod na bagyo ang dumaan sa ating bansa. Ang isa sa mga projects naming ay ang Doctors on Boat,” Atienza disclosed.
(It is provided in our code of ethics that during the time of calamity, epidemics the doctors must be there, except when the health is at stake. That’s why the Philippine Medical Associaion now has projects to help our countrymen, especially that successive typhoons passed the country. One of our projects is the Doctors on Boat.)
Atienza cited the support of the local chapters of the PMA to the Doctors on Boat project that started in 2009 and in Cagayan there are some 200 doctors from Cagayan Medical Society participating in the activity, aside from 15 doctors from Metro Manila.
He said they stay in calamity-stricken areas for several days, depending on the situation, and that they had visited Bicol for three days last week with the same mission of helping the victims of Typhoon Ulysses.
Atienza identified skin diseases and cough and cold as the common illnesses of flood victims but they are always on lookout for leptospirosis cases and order its treatment whenever symptoms are detected on them.
He said the PMA also distributed P5-million worth of relief packs from Mercury Drug Foundation, with each pack containing some clothes, towel, hygiene kit, sardines, two kilos of rice and noodles.
Atienza also credited PMA members who contributed cash donations and other private entities for the Doctors on Boat relief activities.
He said the PMA is to conduct a relief mission in Polillo Island next week and they are also scheduled to go to Mindoro and Marinduque.
Atienza offered the PMA’s free online telemedicine service that can be accessed at www.docph.org as a ” new twist” in the Doctors on Boat project.
“Not all flood victims can consult with us face to face but we our free telemedicine service nationwide, a flood victim anywhere with a smartphone can consult in real-time live with a real doctor,” he said.