by Ran Espiritu and Ely Esteban
The power of healing is like a beacon of light that shines brightly, even in the darkest times. Medical missions, otherwise known as medmish, being conducted by the UP Pre-medical Society, manifest this light, illuminating the lives of those who lack access to essential healthcare services. These missions are a symphony of selfless dedication and tireless effort, orchestrated by the members of the society, healthcare professionals, and volunteers alike, to bring hope to the underserved communities they serve.
The Importance of Networking
Generally, the Medmish team seeks out a community to partner with. In some cases, they also collaborate with medical school organizations that help them connect with doctors. Some of the alumni of the society were sometimes present too. The team also secures sponsorships to purchase medicine and other medical supplies. This way, the team can effectively organize the medical mission and provide the necessary health services to the community.
Interacting with the Public
Medical missions provide a unique opportunity for pre-medical students to interact with the public and fulfill their role as future healthcare professionals and members of the society. They work alongside medical students, doctors, and other medical professionals in various stations, where they take patients' vital signs and medical histories, provide assistance, and encourage people to seek further medical attention if needed.
Fulfilling a Crucial Need
During a medmish, people come to different stations for various reasons, ranging from simple coughs and colds to more complex medical conditions. The members of the society, together with other volunteers, take the patient's vital signs, and medical students and doctors attend to their medical concerns. Medicine and vitamins are also provided to patients. All of these basic healthcare services fill a crucial need in underserved communities.
Adapting to the Changing Times
As with any initiative, Medmish has evolved over time, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, there were few restrictions, but now the team has to adapt to the changing times. The team was able to organize a virtual medical mission during the pandemic, which was a significant achievement. The team also secured more sponsorships in recent years, allowing them to give more to the community. Now that in-person missions are possible again, the team hopes to organize more Medmish initiatives in the future.
Medical missions have evolved over the years to meet the changing needs of communities and the healthcare landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated this evolution, forcing the team to rethink how they provide healthcare services to underserved communities. Here are what the current members and alumni of the society from different timeframes have to say about medmish:
"I think pre-pandemic, we had very few restrictions so it was easy. However, we had to learn to adapt to the times during the pandemic. I'm actually happy that PMS was able to have a virtual medical mission to work around the restrictions of COVID-19. Super happy also that in the recent years we get more sponsorships, compared to the past years. This way, we get to give more to the community! Now that it's the new normal, I'm glad to see that medmish is finally back face to face! Hopefully, more members get to experience med mish in the future." - Moira Carandang, 19A
"Medmish was what really solidified medicine as the path for me. I didn't know anything then. I wasn't even sure if I was doing vital signs correctly (given my only training was in highschool and the short crash course we had in PMS), but there was something thay sparked joy in seeing the patients' relief when they found their blood pressure was normal, or in knowing that this was their first chance in a long time to see a doctor. It's the fact that we attempted to make healthcare accessible for these people, it solidified for me that medicine was something I wanted to keep bringing to farther areas in the country." - Gian Garcia, 19B
"In medical missions, we get to interact with the public - fulfilling the role as pre-medical students. During the dental check-ups, I got to talk and encourage people to have their dental concerns checked by Dentists. Alongside that, we were also taught how to take patients' vital statistics. Overall, it was such a fulfilling experience." - Aryx Dizon, 22A