Tuesday was our first day seeing patients. We were joined by a doctor and four nurses from Manila as well as a group of doctors from Turkey. Our goal today was to run three separate clinics at municipal health stations that are currently not staffed filling a gap of primary care in the communities. When we arrived at the first site there were several hundred people waiting to greet us. The team unloaded their equipment and quickly went to work. Our three clinics were open from 9:30-3:00 between the 3 clinics we saw over 500 patients! The majority of the patients were primary care however the day had its moments of complexity from infected wounds to irrigation & drainage and everything in between. One clinic after it had closed turned into an emergency department after a 6 year old boy suffered second degree burns and is leg and hand from a motorcycle.
After returning to the guest house the team re-assembled their gear packs, made adjustments based on the experiences of the day.
It is now Saturday, this is the first time that I have had a chance to sit down and write some thoughts. The Tacloban team is looking forward to some R&R after five intense days of running clinics throughout the remote regions. Each has its new challenges ranging from access to reach the Barangy to the facilities that we work out of. The clinics have been in single room structures as small as 10 x 15 to open walk ways with make shift sun tarps. On Thursday one team was in the lobby of a Catholic Church it was very moving to see the medical healing taking place in a symbol of hope and healing. The Narthex was beautiful and grand looking over the chapel and the clinic with a completely destroyed roof.
We celebrated in the Tacloban guest house with a feast of two duck’s some pork and rice. The IMC logistics staff was also able to find some fresh baked bread in Tacloban. We were joined by the Filipino clinical staff that is working and living with us as well as the Canadian team called “Global Medic” that is also staged out of this house. Everyone was in good spirits and our thoughts were with our families and our teammates that are in Guiuan. We have had no communication directly from the Guiuan team however we did get word through IMC that they are operational and doing well. Their access to communications is even more limited to ours, we are fortunate that cell coverage is starting to be restored south of Tacloban. There is one corning in our guest house that has intermittent cellular coverage, however no data connectivity. Today we have a shipment of supplies coming in to the port of Tacloban which provided the opportunity to get connectivity and provide updates.