2009 - The Inception

"To improve outcomes of non-communicable diseases (NCD) like hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition and COPD."

The mission stems from our experiences during earlier medical missions in the Philippines, where the approach focused more on surgical cases and short-term health issues rather than on chronic diseases. We observed that, when confronted with long-term health issues such as hypertension and diabetes, the treatment method of giving one or two months of medications was ineffective for long-term outcomes. This lack of efficacy, the enormous impact that cardiovascular diseases have on productivity, and the inability of most patients to consistently afford medications, led us to the idea of implementing a more sustainable education program that will help prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Since the idea was conceived in 2009, we have been engaged in creating our project. We conducted our first medical mission in Iloilo in January 2010, where we saw over 4,000 patients, both medical and surgical, and for the first time, conducted surveys with patients to assess their lifestyles and how this affects their health. We found a gap in their awareness of how diet and exercise affects their blood pressure and blood sugar. More so, the people were very excited to learn more about what they could do to change their disease outcomes.

 

2010 and the Future

"To mitigate complications of non- communicable diseases through sustainable treatment,prevention, education, collaboration and research"

Most of 2010 was spent devising a research protocol, in collaboration with Stanford University, which will test how effective our education programs are in reducing cardiovascular diseases, most notably hypertension, stroke, and diabetes. The Philippines Chronic Disease Prevention Project is currently underway and will continue beyond 2011. Collaboration between Stanford and Gawad Kalinga (GK Philippines) is ongoing.

Our second medical mission was conducted in San Fernando, Pampanga in January 2011. The main focuses were conducting the WHO STEPS questionnaire to determine cardiovascular risk in the community and implementing active health education programs. We also established collaboration with University of the Assumption and several “barangays” (local government units, LGUs) to assist us in carrying out our research project.