USWastes, PH Gains M

Sun.Star Pampanga - - OPINOIOPNINION -

ichi­gan-based Ca­pam­pan­gan Ge­orge Sam­son, a much sought-af­ter per­son­al­ity in hu­man­i­tar­ian mis­sions not just in the Philip­pines, was in town for a short visit. In fact, for just about nine days I was told.

But the top hon­cho of World Med­i­cal Re­lief, Inc (WMRI) could not just re­sist not get­ting into meet­ings for (med­i­cal) out­reaches even for what is sup­posed to be a va­ca­tion for him­self. At some points dur­ing his stay, he chose to sac­ri­fice some time for his fam­ily and met with very im­por­tant peo­ple in­stead. This is how ded­i­cated this man is to the mis­sion of the 64-year old or­ga­ni­za­tion to “help God’s sick poor.”

One of those he held meet­ings was with Se­nate Pres­i­dent Aquilino “Koko” Pi­mentel in Pasay City. The meet­ing was ar­ranged by the se­na­tor’s se­nior ad­viser Abel Man­liclic and another mis­sions-ori­ented fel­low Dr. Iri­neo “Bong” Alvaro. The lat­ter is re­lent­less too in his med­i­cal mis­sions in Ma­galang and Con­cep­cion towns and at the same time award­ing schol­ar­ships all over to de­serv­ing stu­dents un­der the tute­lage of Bridges for Benev­o­lent Ini­tia­tives Foun­da­tion.

The meet­ing with Se­na­tor Pi­mentel cen­tered on bring­ing aid to Min­danao and help re­build war-torn Marawi City. Sam­son told the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, who him­self is from the un­der­served re­gion, of the 20 con­tain­ers he ap­proved as do­na­tions. They are be­ing fa­cil­i­tated by Philip­pine Amuse­ment and Gam­ing Corp (PAGCOR), a rev­enue-laden gov­ern­ment agency. In one of Sam­son’s home­com­ings re­cently, no less than PAGCOR Chair­man An­drea Domingo has sought au­di­ence with the for­mer.

The con­tain­ers will be loaded up with var­i­ous hos­pi­tal equip­ment like xrays, car­diac mon­i­tors, op­er­at­ing room ta­bles, sur­gi­cal tools, beds, scopes as well as as­sorted med­i­cal sup­plies.

They are ex­pected to ar­rive in the Philip­pines in the next few months. One 40-foot long con­tainer could carry hos­pi­tal equip­ment with value rang­ing from $300,000 to $500,000. I hope that the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment would im­me­di­ately grant tax ex­emp­tion on these do­na­tions.

One of the fo­cal points in the al­most two-hour meet­ing is another no­ble un­der­tak­ing. This is the of­fi­cial launch­ing of the dis­tri­bu­tion of re­ha­bil­i­tated heart pace­mak­ers un­der the “My Heart, Your Heart” pro­gram in co­op­er­a­tion with Univer­sity of Michi­gan Car­dio Vas­cu­lar Cen­ter. Sam­son per­son­ally in­vited Se­na­tor Pi­mentel to that mile­stone event in Novem­ber in time for WMRI’s 64th an­niver­sary.

WMRI is set to dis­trib­ute to in­di­gent pa­tients all over the world some 63,000 re­cy­cled pace­maker units. Mind you, the costs for brand new pace­maker vary from $10,000 to $25,000 each when pur­chased in the United States.

In the Philip­pines, those de­vices are more than just a lux­ury in­so­far as costs and func­tion­al­ity are con­cerned. What may be con­sid­ered as al­ready use­less in the US can be turned into life-ex­tend­ing, life chang­ing do­na­tions es­pe­cially for poor coun­tries like Philip­pines whose cit­i­zens’min­i­mum daily wage does not even reach $10.00.

In that meet­ing, the good se­na­tor from Cagayan De Oro re­quested do­na­tion of med­i­cal equip­ment and sup­plies for North­ern Min­danao Med­i­cal Cen­ter which Sam­son im­me­di­ately ap­proved.

Part of pre­vi­ous WMRI do­na­tions to the Philip­pines are much needed dial­y­sis ma­chines to Ospi­tal Ning An­ge­les (ONA) un­der the tute­lage of Mayor Edgardo Pam­intuan who has setup a Re­nal Care Cen­ter at ONA.

Those dial­y­sis ma­chines now ben­e­fit hundreds not just in An­ge­les City but also those com­ing from nearby towns and cities like Ma­bal­a­cat and Pam­panga’s cap­i­tal San Fer­nando.

I know how it is to be squeez­ing pre­cious pe­sos from per­sonal pock­ets on dial­y­sis as my late mother died from re­nal fail­ure in 2004. Dur­ing those days, there were no gov­ern­ment cen­ters that of­fer sub­si­dized hemodial­y­sis. We coughed out sev­eral thou­sands a month for a thrice-weekly ses­sions.

Un­like in the US, dial­y­sis – whether hemo or peri­toneal – can be shoul­dered fully by the gov­ern­ment. One per­son in New York City that I know to be ben­e­fit­ting from this health care pro­gram for years now is con­sid­ered an un­cle (read: very good friend). His name is Sam­son Sanchez, un­cle of PH Am­bas­sador to Bagh­dad Elmer Cato, my for­mer editor-boss in TO­DAY News­pa­per.

In spite of his re­nal fail­ure and daily peri­toneal treat­ment, Un­cle Sam is fast be­com­ing a fa­vorite of nurses and doc­tors in hos­pi­tals he goes to. Why is that so? It is be­cause of his pos­i­tive out­look in life de­spite the life threat­en­ing ill­ness.

Pri­mar­ily be­cause the US Gov­ern­ment pays for his med­i­cal bills. If it were in the Philip­pines, he could have long suf­fered se­verely from the de­bil­i­tat­ing dis­ease not be­cause of the re­nal fail­ure alone but be­cause of de­pres­sion and stress. Who would not suf­fer that es­pe­cially in try­ing to come up with money that would pay hefty ex­penses on dial­y­sis. I should know that be­cause of our fam­ily’s ex­pe­ri­ence when my mother suf­fered the dis­ease in the early 2000s.

The sit­u­a­tion has some­what changed now, with some gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals get­ting do­na­tions of dial­y­sis ma­chines like those be­ing given by WMRI. Some­how the cost has ei­ther gone down or sub­si­dized be­cause of these do­na­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.