Highlights in Manila

image1A day of rest and preparations for the team here at OMF headquarters in Manila. We got up early to check on our instruments, equipment and medications. We have stocked approximately 50-60 different medications to provide to patients, and had to ensure we knew the exact quantities of each to allow planning of the prescription to patients.

The team also met Apple and Melanie from Bukang Liwayway, who traveled to OMF headquarters to discuss the logistics of how the clinics should be run. Both Apple and Melanie are trained nurses who will be assisting the team in the clinics. By the end of the planning session we had detailed schematic drawings of where the doctors and dentists will be working, the instrument sterilisation process and medication dispensing will occur!

After the meeting the team headed towards the city for some last minute shopping for the remaining materials and equipment. Perhaps the most memorable part of this shopping trip was the actual transportation to the city – the team experienced a 30 minute trip in a Jeepney, which is the Filipinos’ most commonly form of transport (see photo). For 11 pesos (or approximately AUD $0.30) each, this was indeed a unique experience. On the way back we counted 30 passengers crammed inside, and with no seatbelts when the driver was averaging 80-100 km/hr weaving through typical Manila traffic congestion, most of us were praying constantly for a safe trip on the way home!
The rest of the day involved more last minute preparations by the team. One special mention must go to Van, one of our dentists, who came up with an ingenious idea of how to tackle the issue of needing headrests for our patients. This is of particular importance to keep our patients’ heads stable to allow safe teeth extraction and ear cleaning. Van literally took a pair of pliers and some wire to make a ‘headrest’ that clips onto the chair (see photo). Fantastic!

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