Mindful that a vast majority of Filipino brothers and sisters are living in poverty, and are mostly deprived of medical services, Tzu Chi Philippines push forth with the Mission of Medicine through consistent implementation of various undertakings designed to bring quality medical services to the poor. With its liaison offices strategically located in Cebu and Zamboanga, Tzu Chi Philippines has all the more reinforced its Mission of Medicine to address the health and medical needs of underprivileged individuals across the archipelago.
On April 1995, just months after the establishment of Tzu Chi, Philippines, volunteers, in cooperation with the doctors and nurses of Chinese General Hospital, launched its very first free clinic in Baguio City. Since then, Tzu Chi Philippines’ main office in Metro Manila, together with its liaison offices, has launched about 120 medical missions as of October 2009. About 200,000 individuals in need of consultation and treatment in the fields of ophthalmology, dentistry, minor and major surgery, pediatrics and general medicine have been served in various places nationwide.
Hospital Visitation and Medical Assistance
Aiming to provide financial support and emotional care to indigent patients who cannot afford medical procedures and expensive medicines, volunteers of Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines started visiting and assisting patients referred by Philippine Orthopedic Center, Chinese General Hospital, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, among others. Tzu Chi Philippines is currently a regular visitor of the burn unit in Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu and Zamboanga City Medical Center in Zamboanga.
Buddhist Tzu Chi Clinic
After it has been granted the license to operate on July 15, 2007, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Clinic, which is equipped with state-of-the-art facility, has been providing free treatment and checkup to patients with eye and dental problems. The Eye Clinic accepts patients in need of surgery for cataract, pterygium, retinal detachment, corneal transplant, squint and lately, glaucoma. The Dental Clinic on the other hand provides indigent patients free tooth extraction, restoration (filling), prophylaxis (cleaning) and high-quality set of dentures.
Tzu Chi Mobile Dental Clinic
To further serve more people in need of dental services but are not capable of going to the clinic because of poverty and health reasons, Tzu Chi Philippines launched its weekly Mobile Dental Service on November 25, 2008, starting off in the depressed community of Panday Pira, Tondo, Manila. After only about a year, Tzu Chi volunteers and TIMA volunteer dentists have conducted more than 40 mobile dental missions in more than 35 indigent barangays in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, and have served more than 2,000 disabled and disadvantaged individuals. Physically challenged people of the Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, inmates of San Juan City Jail, depressed communities in the coastal areas of Isla Puting Bato, are among some who were served with free dental check-ups, oral prophylaxis, dental restoration and tooth extraction.
Medical professionals, including doctors, dentists, surgeons, pharmacists, and nurses, who help in the medical missions are invited to become members of the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA). As the forefront of Tzu Chi’s free clinics and other medical services, TIMA members selflessly share their expertise and compassion to Tzu Chi patients to save and better their lives.
In ordinary days, TIMA members focus their attention in providing free and multidisciplinary medical care services to indigent patients in their local districts. These people joins Tzu Chi’s disaster relief mission during international calamities, by providing medical rescue efforts to the disaster survivors.