The World Surgical Foundation Philippines (WSFP) recently conducted free surgical operations that benefitted over 100 patients in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.
A total of 155 patients received “life-changing” surgeries as the WSFP conducted a three-day surgical outreach activity in Datu Halun Sakilan Memorial Hospital in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi last Nov. 24 to 26.
A total of 40 medical and non-medical volunteers participated in the surgical mission—catering to patients suffering from thyroid diseases, masses, hernia, hemorrhoids, cholecystitis, parotid tumor, and cleft lip and palate, among others. The WSFP also brought state-of-the-art equipment needed for the surgery procedures.
“We are overwhelmed to receive the support of our volunteers even amidst the pandemic,” said WSFP President Dr. Marcus Lester Suntay.
“Through their help, we were able to complete a stunning number of 81 minor and 77 major surgeries in a span of three days,” he added.
The group said it selected Bongao, Tawi-Tawi as the location of its surgical mission because of the “growing surgical backlog” in the area.
“Tawi-Tawi is one of the provinces in the country with a growing surgical backlog due to lack of surgical and anesthesia manpower – a major setback WSFP aims to address,” the WSFP said.
There were only three general practitioners who can perform emergency surgeries in the area, said Tawi-Tawi Provincial Health Officer Dr. Sangkula Laja.
“Due to the absence of anesthesiologists in the city [Bongao], our constituents must travel by boat to Zamboanga for 12 hours just to receive elective surgeries. This further endangers the patients’ lives,” he said.
The WSFP surgical mission was in partnership with the Rotary Foundation and Rotary Club of Makati Central, Tawi-Tawi local government, Datu Halun Sakilan Memorial Hospital, P/E Capital Investments, Philippine College of Surgeons, Philippine Society of Anesthesiologists, and the Operating Room Nurses Association of the Philippines.