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Sunday, 30 July 2017 00:00

Relieving Pain of Illnesses through Medical Outreach

Written by  Tsen Siaw Tshin, Kota Kinabalu / Translated by Lily Leong

Norliza, who had had toothache for a year, had her decayed teeth extracted at the free clinic. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]

One-hundred-and-thirty Tzu Chi volunteers, together with sixty medical professionals from Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA), arrived at Kampung Numbak, Kota Kinabalu, on July 30, 2017, for the sixth medical outreach in this year.


Villagers in Kampung Numbak had endured a tough life after two huge fires in 2013. Tzu Chi volunteers conducted three emergency relief distributions to the fire victims and have since visited them regularly to provide care and free medical services. Throughout the five years, volunteers have fostered good relationships with the villagers.

Most of the residents in Kampung Numbak are foreigners who work as fishermen and earn a low income. They do not seek immediate medical attention at the hospital or clinic due to financial and transportation difficulties. As such, most of them have many health problems.

Heedful and systematic preparation

A week before the medical outreach, volunteers visited Numbak Vision Centre, where the free clinic would be held, to familiarize themselves with the place and carefully plan for the event. A banner promoting the free clinic was also displayed to inform the villagers that they could enjoy free medical consultation, without having to pay for transportation and medication.

The free clinic provided services like measuring blood pressure and blood sugar levels, general medicine, ophthalmic care, dental care, nutritional consultations, roundworm treatment, foot care and pharmacy, as well as, free hair cut service. A total of 2,932 medical treatments were provided that day.

Increasing health awareness

Dr Vasanthi Selvaraju from the Ministry of Health Sabah, has served in the government medical department for 18 years. This was her second participation at a Tzu Chi free clinic. She opined that the poor hygiene in the living environment has caused the villagers of Kampung Numbak, who live on the sea, to suffer from various health issues. Some children were malnourished and underweight, while the adults were prone to infectious diseases, such as, tuberculosis and dengue.

During the free clinic, Dr Vasanthi realized that the villagers lack knowledge in preventive medicine. As prevention is always better than cure, she taught the villagers disease prevention and inspired them to learn more about it, in addition to providing them with medical treatments.

Dr Vasanthi concurs with the Jing Si Aphorism, “Speak good words, have good thoughts, do good deeds, and walk the right path.” Hence, she always encourages the medical personnel to be sincere to all patients and help the needy. She hopes that every medical staff could provide appropriate care and treatment to the patients with a sense of mission, in order to relieve them from the pain of illnesses.

Villagers thankful for the free medical services

Rosmalin Muhammad is a mother of four. Her husband works as an engineer, and would only come home once a month. Due to transportation cost and inconvenience, Rosmalin seldom brought her children for treatments when they fell ill. At the free clinic, her children received treatment for roundworms and other discomfort, while she herself had a tooth extracted. She was thankful to the medical personnel for coming to her village to offer the villagers free medical services, which had alleviated their financial burden.

Nineteen-year-old Norliza had to endure a toothache for almost a year as she could not afford the dental fee. With her decayed teeth extracted at the free clinic, she felt a total relief from the toothache. She said, “I feel very happy that I did not increase my family’s financial burden and I did not feel any pain from the tooth extraction.”

Marius bin Dawai, a fisherman, had a tooth extraction during his previous visit to the free clinic. Now as he gets older, he has started to have blurred vision. An eye examination confirmed that he needed a new pair of presbyopia glasses. He shared happily, “I can see things clearly now, whether they are near or far.” Marius also got his decayed teeth removed at the free clinic. He was thankful to the medical professionals for coming to the rural areas to provide them with free medical services. This had saved them from travelling and spending on medical care.

Holding fast to their roles

Village Chief, Herloh Ronnie said, “More medical professionals are involved this time. The small hall of Numbak Vision Centre and four small classrooms are used for the free clinic. I am really thankful to the doctors and Tzu Chi volunteers for coming here to provide us with free medical services.”

Ronnie Ang Guo Wei, a Tzu Chi donor, joined Tzu Chi free clinic for the first time. His responsibility was to help all the patients to complete their registration before going for doctor’s consultation. He shared, “This is a valuable experience for me to let go of my ego and care for the patients, feeling what they feel.”

He admired the medical personnel and volunteers, who were patient and held fast to their roles despite the hot sun. He expressed, “Everyone gave their best to help the villagers, to ease their suffering. Their heedfulness is indeed commendable.”

To quote a Jing Si Aphorism, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” Ronnie looked up to the medical professionals, who sacrificed their personal free time to help the needy with a heart of compassion and asked for nothing in return. This creates positive vibes in society.

Throughout the medical outreach, the medical professionals showed great devotion and joyfully attended to each patient who came for consultations and examinations. Indeed, they have lived up to the mission of medical professionals as guardians of lives, health and love.

 

 

Many patients queued up to register themselves for the free clinic at the hall of Numbak Vision Centre. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]   Rosmalin Muhammad brought her four children to the free clinic for medical treatment and check-ups. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]

Many patients queued up to register themselves for the free clinic at the hall of Numbak Vision Centre. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]
 
Rosmalin Muhammad brought her four children to the free clinic for medical treatment and check-ups. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]
 
Vasanthi Selvaraju from Ministry of Health Sabah provided medical consultations and taught the villagers some basic knowledge in disease prevention. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]   Ronnie Ang Guo Wei was impressed by the spirit of the medical personnel and Tzu Chi volunteers, who patiently completed their tasks despite the hot sun. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]

Vasanthi Selvaraju from Ministry of Health Sabah provided medical consultations and taught the villagers some basic knowledge in disease prevention. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]
 
 
Ronnie Ang Guo Wei was impressed by the spirit of the medical personnel and Tzu Chi volunteers, who patiently completed their tasks despite the hot sun. [Photograph by Tham Chee Hsung]