Convincing More Doctors to Join In
In the years 2000 and 2001, Dr Teo Boon Fu and Dr Wee Tuan Hong attended the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) Conference in Hualien, Taiwan separately. They were deeply inspired, and upon their return to Malacca, they formed the Malacca Tzu Chi Medical Association on 8 April 2001. To extend the free medical service offered during monthly relief day over the past nine years, as well as to benefit the state's poor people, Tzu Chi formed the Buddhist Tzu Chi Free Clinic.
Witnessing History in the Making
In December 2001, Taiwanese investor, Brother David Liu, decided to wind down his 13-year-old garment factory and donated the entire building block and surrounding area to Tzu Chi. In order to expand the functions of the newly formed Malaysia TIMA, Brother David Liu converted the entire factory administration block into the Tzu Chi Free Clinic. On 19 May 2002, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Free Clinic, the third in the world and the first of its kind in Malaysia, was officially opened. Datuk Wira Gan Boon Leong, Special Assistant to the Malacca Chief Minister, and Brother Stephen Huang, General Supervisor of Tzu Chi International Affairs, jointly officiated at the opening ceremony.
Medical Service Strictly for the Poor
After the setting up of the Malacca Tzu Chi Free Clinic, the Klang liaison office followed suit and set up a free clinic in May 2003. Currently it is open for service every Sunday from 9am to 12noon, although plans are underway to increase the frequency of service hours. Traditional Chinese medicine with acupuncture treatment, general physician, dental treatment and minor surgeries are available. Advanced and sophisticated medical equipment is being used. This is made possible through contributions from entrepreneurs with wisdom and other kind-hearted people. To make best use of every cent, Tzu Chi volunteers may not take advantage of the free medical services that are reserved strictly for the poor.
Free Clinic in Remote Area
Many indigenous people are poor and have no means to seek treatment for their illnesses. On 26 July 1998, Tzu Chi held the first large-scale free medical service in the Lampada District of Sabah. The event benefited more than 2000 settlers. At present, Tzu Chi is providing health care services to the aborigines in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Miri, Kuching, in Ulu Langat Selangor, and Malacca. Medical personnel present include a dentist, gynecologist, pediatrician and general physicians.
Love and Care Ripple through the Jungle
Pitas is Malaysia's second most remote and poorest village and has the most cases of malaria, premature childbirth and miscarriages. On 8 September 2002, Tzu Chi Kota Kinabalu, Sabah carried out its fifth large-scale free medical service for the settlers there. Tzu Chi, health authorities and local hospitals organized it jointly. The location was in deep jungle 170 km from Kota Kinabalu and could only be reached by four-wheel drive vehicles after a four-hour journey. On that particular occasion, 160 Tzu Chi Volunteers and 60 doctors were mobilized for the benefit of 1,950 settlers. Dwellers from 16 villages nearby came out in full force to get free medical treatment, free haircutting and food rations. School children were given worm treatment and also received school uniforms, shoes and stationery.
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