The Philippines Chinese Medicine Service Trip
"The Philippines Chinese Medicine Service Trip" is an overseas charity service organized by Chinese Medicine For All (CMA) and supported by undergraduate Chinese Medicine students of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. It is an n eight-day volunteer service trip to Infanta in the Philippines that will be conducted during the Lunar New Year in 2018. The service trip is planned in hopes to achieve the following four objectives:
1. To serve and promote Chinese medicine to local patients
2. To enhance participants’ clinical skill
3. To promote benevolence and sense of duty
4. To promote sustainable development of Chinese medicine
Inspired by the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a group of Chinese medicine students will utilize their knowledge learnt in lessons and provide humanitarian services in underdeveloped areas. Patients in those areas are unable to receive appropriate treatment due to the limited medical resources. On the other hand, Chinese Medicine would have greater advantage as it is much more convenient, affordable and efficient than conventional medicine in this situation. By providing overseas volunteer service, Chinese medicine can also be promoted in countries outside of China.
Your donations will be used to support the expenses of the volunteer team, including airfare, transportation, basic accommodation, medical supplies, etc. It is estimated that the total cost of the programme will be about HK $ 180,000. Your generous support will make a great difference. To express our thanks for your enthusiastic support, you will receive a small gift to commemorate this meaningful event! (Note 1)
Chinese Medicine For All (CMA)
Chinese Medicine For All is a non-profit organization comprised by a group of young Chinese medicine practitioners from Hong Kong starting from 2009, which aims to help and guide people in less developed areas to prevent and treat diseases with traditional Chinese medicine. With extensive traditional Chinese medicine knowledge and huge sense of duty, CMA aims to serve the less underprivileged with limited medical resources and to become the best non-profit Chinese medicine community in Asia.
CMA establishes Chinese medicine clinics and regularly sends Chinese medicine practitioners to provide volunteer services in cooperation with local organizations in the areas they served. In addition, "Community Acupuncturists training Program" was conducted in the Philippines and the Thai-Myanmar border. Eighteen acupuncturists were trained locally to help solve local medical needs.
In addition to providing experience from the past, CMA also took the lead in liaising with the Infanta Integrated Community Development Assistance Inc. (ICDAI), a local non-governmental organization in the Philippines, to provide more support. ICDAI serves residents in Infanta, a town on the east coast of Luzon in the Philippines. Efforts have been made to promote traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and other traditional medicine for more than ten years to provide greater improvement for people's health.
Basic information of the sevice trip
Date: February 17 to February 24, 2018
Venue: Infanta, Philippines
Volunteer team: 14 senior Chinese medicine students and 7 registered Chinese medicine practitioners
1. Free clinic service:
provide appropriate treatment and acupuncture services for patients, and archive backup, so that local acupuncturists can follow-up in the future.
2. Academic exchange:
Students and registered Chinese medicine practitioners discuss and share medical records and experience, so that they can learn from each other.
3. Promote traditional Chinese medicine:
Chinese medicine classes will be held to enhance patients’ health awareness and quality of life.
4. Cultural exchange:
understand lifestyle and cultural practices through visits to the local residents.
Medical Facts of Infanta
According to official statistics in 2008, the town of Infanta has a population of about 62,000. Residents mainly engage in agricultural activities. Each person earns an average of 100 pesos per day, or about $500 HKD per person per month and only basic living needs could be maintained. Patients with high blood pressure and in need with long-term antihypertensive medication have to pay at least 900 pesos monthly to buy medicine, accounting for about 30% of their total monthly income.
Infanta's healthcare development is lagging behind, with little funding from the government, patients in the town are unwilling to seek medical treatment. They would prefer to pick herbs for treatment or buy over-the-counter drugs in a pharmacy. If they are seriously ill and have better financial conditions, they have to travel to Manila for medical treatment. However, the nearest hospital in Manila takes about 5 hours of travelling; those with poor economic conditions can only stay at home, waiting quietly for a miracle.
A governmental district hospital provides inpatient and outpatient services for Infanta and other six surrounding towns, with 15 wards, 25 beds, 4 doctors and 10 nurses. There is only one doctor on duty everyday responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of about 100 inpatients and outpatients. Compared with private pharmacies, the hospital only provides very few types of medicines. The medical equipment and medicines in the hospital are extremely scarce and out of date. It is also difficult to carry out basic surgery due to the lack of a blood bank.
Because of the serious lack of basic health and hygiene knowledge of local people and insufficient medical equipment, respiratory diseases, infectious diseases and parasitic infections are relatively common.
After taking the geographical location, population, culture, traffic, climate and other factors into consideration, CMA decided to use Infanta as the first base for volunteer service and work closely with ICDAI to establish long-term Chinese medicine clinics and schools in the local area. It is believed that CMA will expand our service to other parts of the Philippines and even other Southeast Asian countries in the future.
Sacrificing the time for spending their holiday with their beloved in this traditional festival, the volunteer team makes the Lunar New Year holidays more meaningful by providing free medical service for those in need. We need your helping hand, please support "The Philippines Chinese Medicine Service Trip".
Your small action can make a big difference!
Note 1: A postcard written by the beneficiaries will be sent to you if you donate more than $1000.