Hello! Welcome to the official blog of the World Surgical Foundation (WSF) 2013 Medical Mission Trip to Coron, Palawan, Philippines. My name is Jennifer, a first-time volunteer of the WSF 16-year operation. A Filipino-American native of Central Pennsylvania where WSF was founded, I have only heard of the impact that WSF has made all over the world – an organization with a mission so unique to that of its counterparts – that I had to come and see it for myself. I invite you to join me on this journey to uncover what truly makes WSF so unique at what they do, why the dedicated volunteer staff and medical professionals keep coming back, and what impact WSF has on the community it serves. Over the next 6 days, we will discover the narrative stories of the patients being cared for and the volunteers selflessly devoting their energy and expertise to those in need, all in an effort to further the WSF mission of providing high quality, sustainable healthcare to the community of Coron, Palawan, Philippines.
Through an in depth discussion with the founder, pediatric surgeon Dr. Domingo Alvear, I quickly came to learn that the mission of WSF is very distinct among other medical missions through its two-fold focus on quality and sustainable healthcare. How? Visiting physicians from the U.S. work with local physicians from the area to share best practices, knowledge, and techniques over the course of the week. The foundation also donates essential supplies and equipment not only to conduct intricate surgeries while they are here, but also to give the hospitals the means to continue providing high quality healthcare long after WSF leaves the mission site. As Dr. Alvear emphasized, “Collaboration with the local community is key for WSF.”
Dr. Alvear also shared with me that this particular mission trip to Coron marks a unique point of history for WSF and the community it will serve. Today, a two-year vision to formalize the WSF mission into a sustainable healthcare institution becomes realized in Coron. Our on-site location, the Coron District Hospital, has been approved for a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to become the first officially adopted hospital by a foreign surgical mission – as sanctioned by the national government of the the Philippines, the Province of Palawan, and the local government that this hospital will serve. This is a collaboration not only among all government branches and WSF, but also the Philippine College of Surgeons, the Philippine Anesthesia Association and the Philippine Operation Room (OR) Nurses Association. It will enable Coron District Hospital to become a central hub for performing surgical procedures to the Coron community and surrounding islands of Palawan.
With an upcoming visit from Governor Mitra of Palawan tomorrow, come visit my subsequent posts to learn about the breadth of impact that this medical mission will have for the Municipality of Coron and the Province of Palawan.