AMDA implemented GPSP/AMDA Multinational Medical Mission for Nepal earthquake. We dispatched medical doctors and other medical personnels from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, India, Japan and the Philippines.
Here are the activity reports from young Filipino doctors from Development Academy of the Philippines(DAP).
Nepal Earthquake Response By Dr. Aljune Patiam
Volunteer doctors, nurses and midwives from Japan, Philippines, Canada together with AMDA International paid visit at AMDA Nepal headquarters prior to deployment to affected areas. A meeting was conducted too as to what is the current status of the operations. We were accommodated very warmly and they assured us of our safety.
Team Japan and Team Philippines were both assigned to Nuwakot district, a highly devastated area. Though we never knew what to expect, still everyone is very excited to finally reach the area and help as much as we can. However, on the 12th May 2015, a 7.3 magnitude aftershock hit. We were inside the car going to Nuwakot, I must say that it was the most terrible earthquake I’ve ever experience. Luckily, no one was hurt and thus we just continue our 4-hour rough and uphill travel to Nuwakot. We arrived safely at Nuwakot. It was right then that we were informed by AMDA Nepal that the mission should be aborted because its not safe for volunteers to stay. As volunteers who came long way to help, the news has made us feel sad and disappointed but we have to trust them for they know better than we do. Safety indeed is a priority.
Finally, after waiting we were granted permission from Nepal government to resume operations on affected areas. Everyone was eager because that’s the main reason why we came to Nepal. Nothing is going to stop us from doing this mission. The villagers and the Nepal Army were so accommodating. Youth can also be volunteers. It was indeed a team effort. Most cases were respiratory infections and wounds. There were also suspected fractures and a lot of musculoskeletal complaints from lifting objects on their house clearing operations.
Children were taught of the importance of hand washing and good hygienic practices in Health Education program. Respiratory infections and diarrhea are avoided when these practices are employed. Prevention is always better than cure. Also, children were very eager too with the clean-up activity. Sense of responsibility was instilled with regards to environmental sanitation which is for their very own good.
The Filipinos have witnessed how the world has united for the Philippines during typhoon Haiyan. We couldn’t have survived the disaster without the help from all other nations. This is the time to give back and return the favor for we are all living in one same Earth.
I was deeply honored to be part of a very great team. AMDA truly lives on its mission around the world. This is by far one of the best experiences I ever had. I was so inspired to push through doing more humanitarian efforts.
The Nepal Volunteer Experience By Ma. Rowena H. Alcido, MD, MPM
On April 25, 2015, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. As news of the disaster reached the Philippines, I was reminded how a disaster of similar magnitude, due to typhoon Haiyan, flattened most of the central regions of my country back in 2013. The similarity between the two disasters did not just end there. Both disasters received heightened attention from the media and from the humanitarian community. As the news unfolded, I had a silent wish of reaching Nepal to aid in the relief work.
The silent wish indeed came true on May 11, when my fellow doctor from DAP, Dr. Aljune Patiam, and me arrived in Kathmandu. The following day, we set out for Nuwakot district, one of the affected areas outside Kathmandu City. While riding a 4x4 vehicle and exiting Kathmandu, we experienced a very strong tremor that shook the vehicle we were riding. People from houses nearby came rushing to the streets looking for an escape. Upon reaching Nuwakot, the local team from AMDA Nepal deemed it unsafe to stay in Nuwakot. Despite our eagerness and willingness to stay in Nuwakot, we heeded the advice given to us.
Despite plans of aborting the mission and going home earlier than expected, we were informed that we were to go to Sindhupalchowk district on the last 2 days of our time in Nepal. The conduct of the medical mission was a synergistic effort between AMDA, the Nepal army, Youth Can volunteers and AMSA Nepal. We tried to cater to as many patients as we can with the time given us. Most of the patients we saw were patients with musculoskeletal pains, respiratory conditions, fevers and diarrhea.
It was these constraints that made the overall volunteer experience truly memorable. Indeed, every country has its own context and working with, rather than against, this context is the challenge of every humanitarian worker. Understanding the context was one of the best takeaways from this trip. I was inspired to see youth volunteers who seem to challenge this notion by working with us international volunteers during that uncertain time. Besides, the kindness and generosity of our Japanese teammates and the new friendships and alliances that were forged in the short time of working together, were invaluable.
That one week of volunteering for AMDA in Nepal was truly a life changing experience. The lessons learned from the relief phase may be transformed to strategies to be used for strengthening and capacity-building of local teams and volunteers. Once more, young Filipino doctors like us, will be always willing to assist and do our share in the work.