Medical Mission 2007
Recently, I have had the opportunity to participate in several medical missions in the
Philippines. The first two missions were sponsored by a group called
Lingkod Timog,
led by Doy and Cecilia Heredia and primarily composed of Filipino-Americans. The
first mission was a one day medical and dental clinic in Zambales, a few hours
northwest of Manila, to care for members of the Aeta tribe. The Aeta are a pygmy
race with curly hair, considered to be the first colonizers of the Philippine Islands.
We were welcomed with a
native dance by local schoolchildren.

The second mission was a 2 day medical-surgical-dental mission in Zamboaga, on
the Island of Mindanao, to care for the Badjao tribe, who live in stilt huts and gain
their livelihood from the sea. In Zamboanga, we had the assistance of US Special
Forces Major Stephen Travis, MD, who provided additional medicines and much
appreciated medical clinic field assistance. Security from Abu Sayef terrorists and
other hostile forces was provided by General Juancho Sabban and the Philippine
Marines.

The last mission was sponsored by the Philippine American Medical Mission
Foundation of Michigan, led by Dr. Victoria Navarra, and consisted of 5 days of
medical-surgical-dental care for citizens of Nagcarlan, Laguna, who cannot afford
health care. Approximately 60 health care professionals from the US and local
Filipino health care workers participated.

During these 3 missions, literally thousands of patients received free medical
evaluations, medications, and long awaited surgeries.

In all 3 missions, I participated as a general internist and neurologist, evaluating and
treating over 100 patients for conditions as diverse as angina, hypertension, thyroid
goiter, scabies, intestinal parasites, and epilepsy.

The hospitality, warmth and heartfelt gratitude of the Filipino people we encountered
in all three locations was extraordinary.
Dr. Wilner relaxing with
Phillipine Marine General
Juancho Sabban in
Zamboanga
Lingkod Timog Medical Mission to
Zamboanga
Philippine American Medical Mission
Foundation of Michigan in Nagcarlan
Philippine Marines provide
security at Zamboanga
Medical Clinic in front of a
colorful sail from a Vinta
Dr. Wilner examines a patient in
Zamboanga