It was on 18 December 2017 when me and my family were on a holiday in Coron in the province of Palawan, Philippines. My son had to be taken to a hospital because of food poisoning. It was around 7 pm after dinner when my son started having diarrhoea followed by episodes of vomiting. It was 12 midnight when we decided that he needed to go to a hospital as he was already very dehydrated. That hospital was Coron District Hospital, the only hospital in Coron. It is a public hospital that serves the underprivileged.
We saw the state of the hospital. They have very limited medical equipment and supplies. They did not even have a spare blanket and pillow. We had to borrow from our hotel. My son’s prescription was written on a scratch paper. And we also had to buy our own medicines.
THAT, was truly eye opening for me. It was a far cry from public hospitals here in Brisbane like Royal Brisbane Womens Hospital and Lady Cilento. It was then I told myself, that I will do what I can to help this hospital and raise awareness of its needs. It will be my family's way of saying thank you to the doctors and nurses who so tirelessly serve the underprivileged. They all serve with a sense of purpose and self abandonment. They have sacrificed big fat pay checks to serve the poor.
I had the chance to talk to the Chief of hospital, Dr Edgar Flores, who has been serving the hospital in the last 30 years. Dr Flores told me that they try to 'make do' with the limited resources they have. The hospital has a 25-bed capacity with 4 doctors, 8 nurses and 2 midwives. Funding is provided by Palawan Provincial Government. However, this is not enough.
In a blog posted by the World Surgical Foundation on 1 March 2013, Dr Flores was quoted saying “We have been doing minor surgeries and orthopaedics. Major surgical cases are referred to Manila and Culion.” These destinations require either a boat (1 1/2 hours by ferry to Culion) or plane (1 hour to Manila), so many may not go. When there is high tide and rough sea, people will not come to the hospital. According to Dr. Flores, the population of Coron is 80% indigenous people (many who speak their own Palawan tribe dialect) and 20% other – these 20% are those that usually can afford to pay. He was also quoted saying “We don’t know how we do it, but as long as we love our work, we are ok!”
Coron is such a beautiful place to visit. The lakes are just magnificent with limestone formations in the backdrop which is a real beauty of God's creation. It attracts tourists from all over the world. Tourists will not hesitate to visit Coron if they know they will be safe in Coron because there is a hospital that can provide them the care and service should they need it.
I therefore call on you to care and support Coron District Hospital. Your donation will come a long way for the purchase of much needed medical supplies and equipment such as:
· non- contact infrared thermometer
· pulse oximeter fingertip
· Blood pressure apparatus aneroid
· Nebulizing kit
· Oxygen gauge
I intend to raise $2,000 up until Easter Sunday, 1st April 2018 to cover costs of these medical supplies/equipment and shipment costs. Concurrently, I am running a separate appeal for non-medical supplies such as hospital bed linen (used blankets, pillowcases, towels, wash cloths) from my Parish at St Joseph and St Anthony in Bracken Ridge, Brisbane. Part of the funds that I raise will go to shipment costs for the non-medical supplies. Shipment costs to Coron is $170 per standard size box (4.5 cubic /feet- 18" x18"x24"). The shipment will take approximately 6-7 weeks to arrive.
On behalf of Coron District Hospital, I would like to personally thank you in advance for any donation you could give. It is in the heart of giving that we can show we care. And it is in caring that we can show our support for Coron District Hospital.
May our good Lord bless you for your generosity.
- Yuanyeca Ignacio