To Our Dear Friends and Family,
We are a group of ER nurses and one ER doctor from St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center who will be part of a team of fifteen volunteers to embark on a two week medical mission to the Philippines on April 6th. The organization we are a part of is Project Helping Hands, a non-affiliated not-for-profit organization that sets up medical missions to assist with the basic life needs of the less fortunate in developing nations. You can visit ProjectHelpingHands.org for more information.
"But why are you going so far away to help the poor when there is so much poverty in Paterson?" you may ask. The bottom line is that these people lack the one thing that even Paterson's most poor have - access to basic healthcare. In the U.S. we take for granted the luxury of immediate medical attention from a doctor regardless of our financial situation. We witness this in our ER everyday. There is no Charity Care in countries like the Philippines.
In the Philippines in 2006, those living under $1.25 a day was 20 million, while 40 million were living under $2 a day. The economy took a further hit in late 2009, as the worst typhoon season in 40 years devastated Metro Manila and the agricultural heartland of the country. Agriculture is the primary and often only source of income for poor rural people, most of whom depend on subsistence farming and fishing for their livelihoods. The geographic location of the Philippines makes it susceptible not only to typhoons, but to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, environmental degradation, tropical cyclones, and ﬂooding, putting it on the top of the list of countries in the world in terms of the occurrence of natural disasters. Besides these frequently occurring devastations, other reasons for poverty in the Philippines include a long history of religious and political differences, unemployment, and rapid popuation growth.
While away, we will be setting up simple healthcare clinics in Illagan (located in the Northeast area of the Philippines in the province of Isabella). We will be working side by side with local medical providers and will also provide an educational seminar at a hospital site for regional medical personnell. As for supplies and equipment, there are no monitors and we can not do many diagnostic studies or perform major surgery. We will depend on our clinical skills, power of observation and some common sense. A diagnosis will mostly be determined by the history and exam, not adding a dozen tests to confirm the obvious. The money we raise will be going mostly to basic supplies and medications:
- Pain Relievers (Tylenol, Ibuprofen)
- Oral Antibiotics (Penicillin, Ampicillin, Erythromycin, Amoxicillin, etc.)
- Ointments (Bacitracin, Neosporin, Polysporin, triple antibiotic, ear/eye antibiotics, antifungals, anti-itch)
- Scabies/Lice Lotion and Shampoo
- Reading Glasses
- Soaps/Shampoos (Keep this in mind and save us the mini soaps/shampoos during your next hotel visit!)
We need your help in raising the money to buy the above supplies. Any amount you can give will go a long way in the care of those in need. Anything over $20 is tax deductible through Project Helping Hands. Thank you in advance for your support.
and Caroline Valentino