Muslim doctors to hold medical mission in typhoon-hit areas this Christmas

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/16 December) –  Doctors and nurses assigned in the  typhoon-hit towns in Davao Oriental can spend Christmas home with their families as Muslim doctors and nurses from Maguindanao have volunteered to take over on December 18 to 25.

“They said they don’t celebrate Christmas  anyway, so they chose those dates so that  doctors and nurses in these areas can take a break and spend Christmas with their families,” nurse Mary Divene Hilario, Information  Officer of the Department of Health regional office here told MindaNews Friday afternoon.

The doctors will be coming from the Integrated Provincial Health Office in Maguindanao and Buluan, the hometown of Maguindanao Goveror Esmael Mangudadatu.

Hilario said several medical teams from local government units outside the region have come to provide health services to the typhoon survivors such as Team Cagayan de Oro, Team Zamboanga, Team Albay and Team Cebu. Teams from private groups have been doing their own medical missions, as well,she said.

Hilario clarified there is no outbreak of diseases but acknowledged there were three suspected cases of measles in New Bataan, Compostela Valley province. She said vaccination teams from the regional office were deployed to area Thursday and to Compostela Valley town on Friday.

Medicines are not a problem, she said. “We have more than enough,” she said,  but added, “we still need doctors.”

Hilario said they have enough medicines for cough, colds, as well as antibiotics and pain relievers, and medicines not only for those who were injured by Pablo when it made landfall on December 4 but also for those who were injured while repairing their houses or  building makeshift dwellings.

The hardest hit towns in Compostela Valley are Compostela town, Monkayo and New Bataan while the hardest hit in Davao Oriental are Baganga, Boston and Cateel.

Out of these six towns, only one has a hospital —  Cateel — which has been listed “damaged” in the Regional Health Office’s initial monitoring.

Based on the list Hilario showed MindaNews, two rural health units were “completely damaged” and these are in Baganga and Cateel. The RHUs in Boston, Compostela, Monkayo and New Bataan are “partially damaged/operational.”

A total of 72 barangay health stations were damaged in the two provinces: 18 in Baganga, eight in Boston and 18 in Cateel; eight in Compostela and 20 in New Bataan. In Monkayo, 23 BHS were “partially damaged/operational.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)