Share Me A Dream Australia's Surgical Mission in Tawi Tawi
A successful surgical mission was conducted by Melbourne based Share Me A Dream Australia in the remote island province of Tawi-Tawi between June 6 - 9, 2019. The mission was organised and facilitated in partnership with the Davao based medical staff from Maharlika Charity Foundation Inc (spearheaded by Dr. Benedict Valdez and Dr. Rizal Aportadeza); the Southern Philippines Medical Centre; IPHO Integrated Health Office in Bongao Tawi-Tawi; with the gracious support Dr. Laja and local hospital Datu Halun Sakilan Memorial Hospital.
The Philippine Air Force C295 with pilots Major Michael Marlvin Manas and 1 Lt Nathaniel Factor and their 4 engineers, was deployed for the 2 hour journey to and from Davao City to Tawi-Tawi to assist with the complex logistics of the transport of several tonnes of medical supplies and equipment accompanying the 45 volunteers for the mission.
Several marines from the Armed forces of the Philippines provided safety to the doctors, nurses, pharmacist, and other attendances and the representative from Share Me A Dream Australia throughout the duration of this mission. This included escorting staff between locations that they travelled within Tawi Tawi, as the safety of the mission volunteers was highlighted in the briefing provided at the beginning of their journey. Support was provided from the Municipality of Bongao, as well as the regional government Bangsamoro Transition Authority, particularly with the consistent presence of the Honorable Eddie Alih of the BARMM.
The 45 volunteers, comprising mainly of nurses, as well as the 18 talented doctors from Davao, Zamboanga, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental can be seen as heroes of this surgical mission in one of the most remote provinces in the Philippines, neighbouring Malaysia.
An outstanding total of 812 people were screened, with 729 operated, while the remainder who were unable to be operated due to a lack of medical equipment were referred to Zamboanga where they would receive treatment free of charge.
Patients of all ages (from 8 months old to the elderly) were operated on various surgeries which include: Dental - 583, Cysts - 208, Thyroid - 6, Hernia - 13, Cleft - 10, Haemorrhoid - 1, Salpingectomy - 1, Debridement & suturing - 1, Explap - 1, Removal of foreign body - 1, Pressure ulcer - 1, Chole -1, NSVD - 1.
The president of Share Me A Dream Australia, Terry Kane, who was present during the mission in this deeply underprivileged area in the Philippines, witnessed first hand the hard work involved with the fantastic volunteer medical staff. The experience of having the marines present during this 4 day mission was what made this mission different to others conducted in the past. Terry Kane states that this was indeed an achievement, while she extends a deep gratitude to those who attended the Rio Charity Ball 2019 in March, who helped make this possible. Share Me A Dream Australia continues to fulfil its mission of reaching the less fortunate in the Philippines. Share Me A Dream's next event is the International Charity Ball (Culture & Diversity) on October 5. Visit www.sharemeadream.com for more details.