Tzu Chi Foundation conducted a screening of eye patients in preparation for a large-scale medical mission this coming May 26-28. The screening was held on May 1 at the Leyte Progressive High School, catering to 142 patients.
The patients, who came from different barangays in Tacloban and Ormoc cities, came as early as five in the morning for the screening.
Among the patients hoping to find treatment is Marife Salamida, 44, a resident of Barangay Mangga, Sagkahan in Tacloban City. She has been troubled by the clouding of her right eye for for a year now; so when she heard about the screening, Marife decided to come and find out what the problem is.
“I heard about the eye screening from our barangay, so we went here today because I wasn’t able to come during the previous eye screenings. Now I took the time to have my eye checked to find out why it is cloudy. This has been a burden to me and I’m afraid it would get worse,” she says.
“The doctors were kind and the volunteers as well so I thank Tzu Chi Foundation because I was able to avail of the free check-up. Thank you also to all the volunteers and staff especially to Master Cheng Yen,” Marife ends.
Marife goes home with a new pair of eyeglasses from Tzu Chi.
Jennylyn Canayon, 44, of Barangay 6-A Sto. Nino Extension in Tacloban City also came to have her eye checked at the screening.
Beside her right eye is a small lump. She got it 3 years ago when she was cutting wood and dust speck entered her eye. It became more swollen when she scratched it so she decided to see a doctor immediately.
Jennylyn and her husband are balut vendors. Together, they support their 7 children. But their income of Php120-150 a day could not sustain their basic needs, much less her medications.
After attending the screening held by Tzu Chi, Jennylyn grew hopeful that someday, the lump beside her eye would be removed.
“It will help me a lot in my eye problem. I’m grateful to Tzu Chi. I hope that I could avail an eye operation to ease my burden. Thank you also to the volunteers and doctors in Tzu Chi. I’m very happy that they were able to help me,” she says.
Grateful for continuous care
Another patient Osita Salamida, 75, of Barangay Caibaan in Tacloban City came with her two daughters for the eye screening. Seeing Osita, Tzu Chi volunteers immediately came to help her walk to the doctors.
Gennie Lacanaria, one of the daughters, lauded the compassion shown by the Tzu Chi volunteer doctors during the screening.
“The doctors were very helpful to my mother,” says Gennie, 44. “They understand her health condition because she could hardly walk due to old age. When she does, her hip hurts. I must say, this consultation is very important for my mother because she could no longer see things clearly. Through this, I hope she will have a successful operation.”
Gennie also took the opportunity to thank Tzu Chi for its immediate aid in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
“Tzu Chi was actually the first to take action in helping the typhoon victims. I was even one of those who fall in line during the distribution of cash assistance,” she adds. “Until now, they continue to give love and care for the Taclobanons. For that, it’s not only our family who are thankful for Tzu Chi’s wholehearted help and support to the Taclobanons but also many others.”
Happy patients, happy doctors
Apart from the team of 3 volunteer doctors from Manila, a local doctor also joined the screening as volunteers. She is Dr. Frances Marie Roa-Lingad of Divine World Hospital.
“I was a little overwhelmed because there were so many patients – those with cataracts, there were children and also elderly people; but it was an enriching experience,” shares Dr. Frances. “We were able to help people, especially those who were indigent. Those who came from far-away towns from Tacloban City are able to avail of quality eye care for free.
“As of those who were operated last year, they are given continuous care. I saw one patient who had a cataract surgery last year through Tzu Chi and came back this year to have her other eye operated. She was very happy for the chance; and happy patients are equal to happy doctors,” adds Dr. Frances.
When asked if she would be willing to join Tzu Chi’s next medical missions, she immediately answers, “Sure! Just let me know when the next medical mission will be.”
Tzu Chi’s medical mission on May 26 to 28 will be joined by volunteer doctors from Manila and Singapore.
The clinic will open departments on General Medicine, Pediatrics, Dental, Ophthalmology, Obstretics and Gynecology, Minor Surgery, among others.
Head of Tacloban Filipino Tzu Chi volunteers Judith Casco orients the volunteers before the eye screening started. 【Photo by Jeane Marie M. Faminogan】
Tzu Chi volunteers organized the patients in neat lines to ensure the smooth flow of the activity. 【Photo by Jeane Marie M. Faminogan】
Local Chinese volunteer Leoncio Yu shares a short message to the eye patients. 【Photo by Jeane Marie M. Faminogan】
Tzu Chi volunteers perform the sign language during the program for the patients waiting for their turn to see the doctors.【Photo by Jeane Marie M. Faminogan】
Eye patients from different barangays in Tacloban and Ormoc cities participate in the sign language with joyfulness and harmony during the eye screening on May 1. [【Photo by Jeane Marie M. Faminogan】
Before the eye screening started, Tzu Chi volunteer Maria Teresa Ang shares a few words about the importance of giving love and compassion to other people, especially those in need. 【Photo by Jeane Marie M. Faminogan】
A Local doctor from Divine Word Hospital, Dr. Frances Marie Roa-Lingad (left), attends to an eye patient from Ormoc. She said she feels great to join the Tzu Chi doctors in providing quality eye care service to the patients during the eye screening. 【Photo by Jeane Marie M. Faminogan】