The Visayas Primary Health Care Services, Inc. (VPHCS) facilitated the community medicine elective course for eight students of theUniversity of the Philippines – College of Medicine (UPCM) Class 2012 in urban and rural poor communities in Cebu and Bohol last May 15 – 30, 2010.
The elective course was initiated by the Community Medicine Development Foundation (COMMED) in coordination with the UPCM. The COMMED is a non-government organization based in Manila that organizes and brings physicians and health science students to practice, promote and develop community medicine as an integral aspect of community health work.
The eight students currently in their fourth year medical school in UPCM, visited and stayed in urban poor communities in Cebu including Barangay Pasil and Sitio Mary Grace in Talamban in Cebu City, and Sitio Back of Matimco in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City. In Bohol the students stayed in farming and fishing communities in Ubay, Loon and Trinidad.
These communities have existing community-based health programs (CBHPs) with active community health workers (CHWs) and people’s organizations that deliver primary health care services to the residents with whom the medical students integrated and lived. The two-week community immersion enabled the students to understand concepts and actual practice of community health work, organizing and development.
The students learned to analyze health and development problems in the communities in relation to the social determinants of health and realize their role as medical students and doctors in health development work.
The students are Raoul Felipe, Arthur Z. Gallo, Patrick Sy, Ferdinand Luis G. Suarez, Robert Angelo P. Totanes, Carol Stephanie C. Tan, Anthony A. Suguitan, and Lee Edson P. Yarcia.