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Medical Missions
Wednesday, February 28, 2007


It is again the season of medical missions. Especially now that the national election is forthcoming, we doctors expect medical missions here and there. In fact it has already started in the month of February. In the photo is a medical mission that took place in Lingayen, Pangasinan. It was attended by thousands of people. It was a four day medical and dental mission with free laboratory work-ups, x-rays of all sorts, electrocardiogram (ECG), and other diagnostic methods, and of course free medicine.

For over a month now, a mobile X-ray machine and ECG sponsored by one famous candidate roams around the entire town of San Fabian, Pangasinan. The mobile together with its staff composed doctors, dentists, nurses, rad tech, etc. stay for 1 day per baranggay giving out the said diagnostic methods together with free medicine and free T-shirt printed with the name of the candidate.

Are these medical missions really helping the people? Considering the high cost of medicine here in the Philippines, maybe everyone will say that it is beneficial to all Filipinos. But if we really look into it, most of the medicines used in these projects are the low cost generics made by unheard of pharmaceutical companies. And when given to people, only the starting dose good only for 2 to 3 days and not the entire course of treatment is given. This way of giving medicine may induce resistance of the patient to the medication.

In most of the medical missions that I attended, physician samples were used and not the stock medicine. These samples are usually solicited from different pharmaceutical companies. Again these are very few when given to the recipient and good only for 1 to 2 doses. They need to buy the rest of the medication in order to get well.

On the other side of the coin, are we really sure that these people who frequent medical missions are really sick or are they just after the free medicine and keep them for future use? Yes, most of these people are not actually sick. Most of the medicines they gathered are kept and shared with other family members. This often results to under dosage or over dosage depending on who gets to use the free medicines.
posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 5:30 PM  
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About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
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Copyright © 2006-2008 Amelyn R. Rafael,MD, All rights reserved.

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