By Mireille Hanna

The municipality of Sta. Cruz in the Province of Zambales is a mountainous area that is rich in nickel; thus, making it attractive to mining companies. For many years, nickel mining companies have been operating in the area. Since then, the incidence of skin irritations/problems and respiratory conditions have increased.


A local non-profit organization in the Province of Zambales, Defenders of the Environment for Genuine Development (DEFEND) brought this situation to our attention and requested a medical and dental mission to the barangay (hamlet) closest to the mining area and where most mining-affected patients are found.

Once more we teamed with HIDS Health Integrated Development and Services, Inc., a non-profit and non-government organization bringing health services to vulnerable sectors to respond to this medical need. With funding from Global Legacy Programs, a dental and medical mission took place at the end of December. Led by Dr. Nenita G. Santa Ines, the volunteer team included three doctors and one dentist. Nurses from the Municipal Health Office of Santa Cruz volunteered to check vital signs and dispense prescribed medicines.

In total, 307 patients (246 medical and 61 dental) received treatment and medicines. The majority of illnesses treated were upper respiratory tract infection and skin disease.
This was our third medical mission in collaboration with HIDS. By providing a volunteer medical team and obtaining the support of local organizations, HIDS made it possible for us to respond to Bayto’s plea with an expenditure of just $2,500 to cover the transport of medical team as well as the purchase of all needed medicines.

Funds for this mission were raised by all who contributed to our November 2016 Make a Difference Campaign.

May 2016


By Salome Ballardo

With funding from  Global Legacy Programs, and in cooperation with Health Integrated Development and Services (HIDS), a non-governmental Manilla organization providing volunteer doctors and dentists we were able to bring  a Medical, and Dental Mission to Dolores, Eastern Samar.    Around 600 residents of Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas of Villahermosa, and Caglao-an, two riverside barangays of the Municipality of Dolores in Eastern Samar , received  medical consultations, tooth extractions, medical prescriptions, and free medicines.  The team consisted of 2 doctors, 2 nurses, 2 dentists and 2 dentist assistants.

The locals who participated in the Mission were from barangays (villages) situated along the Dolores River. The primary source of income in these areas is from rice and coconut farming, although most of the residents own their own boats, used for subsistence fishing and traveling to other barangays. The first barangay visited was Barangay Villahermosa, a two-hour boat ride from the town proper. It is the second-to-the-last barangay along the Dolores River, making it inaccessible to most government services. Around 200 families reside in Villahermosa; most of them live in houses made of wood. Although lacking network connectivity, there is electricity and water in the barangay. The second barangay- Caglao-an- was an hour away from the town proper. Due to the rainy weather, the road to the Multi-purpose Hall and elementary school, which were used as venue for the Mission were muddy. Unlike in Villahermosa, there is no gymnasium or Health Center in Caglao-an. The source of livelihood and style of living are mostly the same.


arrival of team in Caglao


AYAHH….tooth extraction

The poor health situation of the upland communities is due to poverty stemming from low farm produce, inaccessible / unaffordable health services and the distance from the town proper. This is exacerbated by the absence of medical and dental personnel that can regularly conduct medical and dental surveillance among at risk communities. These personnel are located in the town proper with only 1 rural physician and 1 dentist that cater to around 41,000 residents. Only 1 midwife is serving 2-3 villages with 5-6 village health workers per village. The distance deters regular health workers from visiting the area apart from the low budget for medicines by the local government unit that can cater to the entire populace. The route through the river posed danger to the riding public when flooding occurs. Its distance and low family budget prevents the people from seeking medical advice and settle for folk and herbal medicine. The inadequate road network hampers the accessibility and availability of services. The communicable diseases such as  pulmonary tuberculosis, leprosy, and schistosomiasis require full treatment and thorough case finding. However, the distance, cost of  travel/medicine and inadequate supervision posed higher default among patients. The default will cause medicine resistance and will need another treatment regimen which the patient has to shoulder. In this case, patients will just forego treatment and will in turn transmit the causative agent to others. Referrals were made but unless the patient will pursue the tests and treatment regimen, communicable diseases will remain the predisposing factors and increase the morbidity or mortality rate among upland communities.

We hope, in partnership with HIDS to bring more medical care to these vulnerable communities.

February 2016


By Rosario Alday

Our second medical mission to Dolores, Eastern Samar was a big success.  A total of 330 patients were checked (OPD) and screened. Out of these 330 OPD patients a total of 45 patients were cataract surgery beneficiaries and 25 patients were pterydium surgery beneficiaries, or a total of 70 surgeries performed by the five (5) volunteer ophthalmologists of the Rotary Club and three (3) volunteer nurses of Ephpheta Foundation for the Blind. Those who did not qualify for surgery were treated and given needed medicine.   Some patients were promised surgery on our next mission as it was necessary to prioritize and operate on the most urgent cases.

pic5-2.png dolores photo

Patients awaiting registration

The volunteer ophthalmologists were as follows:
Dr. Hernando Cruz of St. Luke’s Hospital obal City, Taguig (Head of the Team)
Dr. King Enriquez of Cardinal Santos Medical Center Mandaluyong City
Dr. Jaybee Bautista of Fatima Medical Center, Manila
Dr. Amanda Sendjaja of Fatima Medical Center, Manila
Dr. Chiandira Lay of Fatima Medical Center, Manila

The doctors could have operated more patients but accidentally there was no electricity from 8am to 12 noon on Jan. 29, 2016, the day when the cataract surgery was performed. There was a generator but the doctors did not want to risk  the well being of the patients so they were only able to perform surgery without need of machines during that time. The surgery started from 7 am until 10 pm.

pic2-2.png dolores photo

Doctor Sendjaja with patient

We would like to thank  Quotient Inc.  of Columbia, VA, for its renewed support.  Mr. & Mrs Picardo’s generosity made the final difference between being able to do the mission or cancelling it.  Manilla’s, Epheta Foundation for the Blind lent us all the needed instruments and machines.  Global Legacy programs, through a $4,000 donation to Health Integrated Development and Services (Manilla) covered the the cost of medicines, airfare and ground transportation for the medical team as well as cargo shipment of all Epheta material.

More such medical missions are needed in the Philippines.    Local doctors are often ready to volunteer their time.  It is therefore possible, with very little financial output, to bring health improvement to the poorest communities in that country.   You can sponsor one eye surgery patient with a $50.00 donation.

Eye Surgery in Dolores, Eastern Samar

by Mireille Hanna

Patients Lining up for Screening

Patients Lining up for Screening

Last year we were alerted to the fact that several hundred people living in poverty, in and around Dolores,  were afflicted with cataract and other eye diseases requiring surgery.   Our representative in the Philippines, Rosario Alvay, was able to coordinate our partnership with the Epheta Foundation for the Blind and the Fatima University Ophthalmology Society, both in Manila, to provide some of these people with the surgery they needed in order to have a better quality of life.

Screening Patients

Screening Patients

Epheta provided all the necessary medical equipment and the team of nine doctors and nurses who volunteered are affiliated with Fatima.  GLP , thanks to a grant from Quotient of Columbia, MD, provided funds for the transport of the medical team and its equipment from Manila to Tacloban on Philippine Airlines and the cost of all medicines.   The town’s mayor arranged for the team to lodge in private homes and to be well fed during their stay.   Our goal was 80 patients but 97 were treated in a make shift operating room.  Because of time limitations the most urgent cases were operated but , unfortunately, more than a hundred who were deemed operable could not be accommodated.  It is our hope that, with your support, we can schedule another ophthalmology mission before the end of the year.  Our goal is to raise $5,000 for this project.  You can sponsor one surgery with a donation of $50.00 but any amount will be gratefully added to that mission’s fund.

Awaiting One’s Turn

Awaiting One’s Turn

Doctors at Work

Doctors at Work

Post-Operation Checkup

Post-Operation Checkup

July 4, 2012
by Mireille Hanna

Siayan – Mindanao Medical Team with Medical Bridges Supplies

In spite of the many problems encountered in Customs, the 20 foot container of medical supplies we shipped to Siayan – Mindanao (in the Republic of the Philippines), finally reached its destination. Recently, Siayan was declared to be their poorest community. Over $100.000 in supplies and equipment was donated to GLP by Medical Bridges that will allow a dedicated medical staff to better serve this community.

Also in the Philippines, a playground for the Global Legacy Programs’ kindergarten in Malobago – Eastern Samar, is near completion. Thank you Raul and Monika Picardo for the generous donation that made this addition possible.

 We are most grateful to all those who supported our campaign and helped us raise the $5,000.00 needed to ship a 20 ft container with over $100,000.00 in donated medical supplies to Siayan in the province of Mindanao.  Siayan was recently declared the poorest community in thePhilippines.  The container is on its way and should reach its destination by year end.

These medical supplies were generously donated to us by Medical Bridges, aHoustonbased not for profit organization that recovers surplus medical supplies from hospitals in the USA and offers them to those foundations able to redistribute them to clinics, hospitals and healthcare providers In less fortunate countries.

School supplies were sent to the Global Legacy Programs’ kindergarten in Malobago and, thanks to a generous donation from Monika and Raul Picardo,  we are adding a  much needed playground that will offer the children an opportunity to physically exercise.   The kindergarten has now 45 enrolled children and is only accepting children from the Malobago district.  Parents in other districts are now pleading for a similar project in their communities.

How you can help?
:: Make a donation of any amount towards our medical fund ::

July 2011 Message:

Thanks to the generous support of Philippine Airlines we were able to deliver another 14 cartons of medical supplies donated by Medical Bridges to the hospital in Dolores, Eastern Samar. We are told that the Global Legacy Programs kindergarten built last year in Barangai Malobago has become a source of pride for that community. We have sent, annually, an abundant supply of learning aids to the kindergarten and hope to add a playground set in the future.


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