Four third year students of the Cebu Institute of Medicine had their elective course in preventive and community medicine with the Visayas Primary Health Care Services last December 28, 2012 and January 4, 2013.
Carmelle Caracena, Rore Remedio, Mary Therese Paradiang, and Abigail Melicor spent the two days integrating with the community health workers (CHW) and residents of Sitio Back of Matimco, Barangay Subangdaku in Mandaue City, one of the community-based health programs of the VPHCS.
The elective course of the Department of Family and Community Medicine aimed to provide the students with venues to explore government facilities or programs and health related activities of non-government organizations in order to give them a perspective of the basic practice of preventive and community medicine. The students chose the VPHCS, through Dr. Erlinda Posadas, VPHCS staff member and faculty member of CIM.
In the sitio, the students got to know about how the CHW who are trained by the VPHCS are promoting health, preventing disease and rendering basic curative services. The students also had a medical check-up of hypertensive patients who sought consult on January 4 in the health center built by the people’s organization, the KALUWASAN.
Below are insights from the students
Despite the health problems that continue to surround the community, it was inspiring to see the community’s determination to improve their health condition and way of life despite the odds. We were able to see a community standing up as one, helping each other despite struggles of finances and limited resources. It reminded us that in being a physician, we should not only provide medical aid, but also we should holistically care and touch upon the different aspects of family and community, motivated by love and compassion for our fellowmen.
We learned a lot about community health care and the important role doctors have in this endeavour. It was humbling to see that despite of their living conditions, they have smiles on their faces as they go through life. It made us realize we have a lot to be thankful for. It helped us realize that there is more to being a doctor than what we read in textbooks. The real world is out there. We are to reach out and help the less fortunate who are people as well and have the right to access quality health care. We were reminded that our purpose in pursuing a medical career was to help people. It reminded us that a physician is to be selfless, serving those who need our help, with love and compassion to motivate us, not monetary gain nor prestige. What started out as just a fulfilment of a requirement for family medicine elective turned into a learning experience for the whole group which brought us one step closer in becoming physicians with a heart.