All photos have been posted with permission from the subjects within themAfter nurse’s week at St. Paul’s University our group went back out to Janiuay for our second week of the community exposure. On Wednesday the 19th we spent the morning working at the Rural Health Unit. Some of the students got to practice giving immunizations. There were not enough vaccines to be able to immunize all the children that came to the clinic. The experience of having to turn away patients was new for us. It is experiences like that, that help us appreciate all the health resources we have back home in Canada. The remainder of the students assessed children under five using the IMCI assessment tool. We all really appreciate having our Filipino nursing student buddies to help us translate when working with the patients at the Rural Health Unit. That afternoon, we had planned to head out on the trek to the Boranguay Mantag-ub to do home visits. It was an extremely hot day out, so we had to postpone heading out for a few hours until the extreme heat of the day had passed. While we waited, we made use of our time by brainstorming about possible action plans to help address some of the challenges faced in the community. For example; a lot of the community people have no way of making a lively hood. One of the ways the students want to help the community address this issue is to help them establish some mushroom crops to sell for profit. In this way the community members will be doing the work to earn the profit. Eventually, the sun started to go down and we headed out to the Boranguay. In groups of three we visited individual family homes to assess their living conditions, learn about their health challenges, take vital signs and address any other medical concerns they had. This was an eye opening experience for us, as the living conditions are far from what we are use to back home.
On Thursday we went back to the Rural Health Unit in the morning to do prenatal check ups on mothers. We measured fundal height to see if the fetus is growing appropriately for gestational age. Lastly, we did Leopold’s Maneuvers to assess how the fetus is positioned in order to find the fetal back to listen to the heart rate. We checked fetal heart rate, using a dopler, to assess the health status of the fetus. That afternoon we took a tour of Janiuay that the mayor organized for us. Some of the sights included the community’s famous historic cemetery as well as the church that they are beginning to restablish. In the afternoon we observed a traditional Filipino Hilot (healer) provide their services to a patient. In the Philippines many people are unable to afford health services, so they may end up going to these healers as a more affordable option. It was great to observe this experience to further our understanding of local traditional forms of health care. In the evening we attended a carnival with the students in the town square.
On Friday, half of the group went back out to the Boranguay Mantag-ub to host a community assembly. The assembly consisted of health teachings on diseases that the community members are at risk for, further assessment about community challenges, and provided lunch for the community members. The other half of the group was able to take part in a labor at the Rural Health Unit. We were divided into three different positions. The assistant monitored the mother’s vital signs and the fetal heart rate, they helped coach the mother as the father is not allowed in the delivery room, and they administered a medication after the delivery of the placenta to help prevent postpartal hemorrhage. The handler gets to assist the midwife in the actual delivery of the baby, cutting of the umbilical cord, delivery of the placenta, and then with stitching after the delivery if the mother experiences any tearing. The baby care student is in charge of cleaning the baby, taking the vital signs of the infant, taking measurements, and administering the necessary medications. As women, it is very empowering for us to see such a natural birthing process take place and for the mother to cope so well. They receive no pain medications, and are instructed to walk around and do squats in order to naturally speed up the labor. We also stimulate the nipples and abdomen to help bring on contractions and speed the delivery. Following the delivery we performed postpartal checks on the mother for two hours. The mother had a beautiful healthy baby girl and did extremely well. In the afternoon, we took part in a farewell celebration with the students and our clinical instructors. We were welcomed in by one of our instructor’s aunts to her beautiful home for a delicious feast and pool party. We cannot say enough good things about the overwhelming hospitality of all the people we have met during our time here in the Philippines.
On the weekend we were able to have some fun with the students and take part in karaoke, which is very popular in the Philippines. We now understand why, as it was such an amazing time. On Sunday we attended the Dinagyang festival. The governor of Iloilo invited us to sit in his reserved section to view the dancing. At this festival the tribes had choreographed dances with extensive sets and props to show the coming of the Christ child, or Senior Santa Nino. The show was amazing and we were very lucky to be able to have such a close view of the program. Following the festival, one of the Sisters from the university invited us to her friend’s house for another great Filipino meal.
Early Monday morning we packed up our things and headed to the airport. It was hard to believe our time in Iloilo had come to an end. It went by so fast and was filled with some amazing learning opportunities, extraordinary people, and many great memories. We are very appreciative to all of the people (instructors, staff, students, and families) that made our stay in Iloilo so amazing. We exchanged our goodbyes, hugs and tears with our instructors and student buddies as they all escorted us to the airport to send us off. We boarded the plane and were off to Manila. We then drove out to Antipolo to be reunited with the other six Canadian students. We will be spending two weeks here with the staff and students from the University of East Ramon. Everyone will be taking part in community exposure this week. Next week, we will be split up with eight of the students going into their acute practicum and four of the students will continue with their last week of their community practicum.