CONSOM Nursing Student leaders initiate Medical Mission to Balatoc Mines Community

by  Emerson C. Soriano, BSED Biology-Chemistry

The College of Nursing and School of Midwifery Faculty and Students together with the Barangay Officials

Nursing student leaders headed by Jessica L. Medino, Wilma Jane A. Paat and Joanna Marie M. Abratique and other nursing students Klein C. Buswilan, Jufo Rico Tegwa, Rogelio Immatong Jr. with the guidance of their Clinical Instructor Mr. Allan Guinanghan initiated the medical mission on June 8, 2024 to Balatoc Mines community with the theme: “Revolutionizing Health, One step at a time”. The Medical mission aims in giving back to indigent IP communities the needed health services and strengthen the community values of “bayanihan” – of helping one another.

“Acupan-Balatoc was a minesite camp that evolved with the Acupan mine which Benguet Corporation (BC) operated since 1927. Acupan-Balatoc was a melting pot of almost five thousand people consisting of mine workers and their families. Ethnolinguistic affiliation was initially a defining criterion for social interactions. Decades of living together in a bounded spatial area gradually blurred ethno-linguistic divisions towards self-ascribing shared appellations such as Taga-Acupan (‘of / from Acupan’) and Taga-Balatoc (‘of/ from Balatoc’). With the decline of metal prices in the 1980s, the Acupan mine had the first of a series of manpower reduction followed by more rounds of retrenchment until operations ceased in 1992. This resulted to the departure of more than half of the population leaving the municipal government the burden of economic and social dislocation. After almost a decade, BC reopened the Acupan mine, but with a much smaller scale of operation, and thus began the re-population and resumption of work and life in the locality. The changes and continuity in Acupan-Balatoc demonstrate that even with the economic and political leverage of BC to steer the course of events according to its corporate objectives, the people in Acupan are not berefit of options.” – Minerva Chaloping

The contingency was welcomed by community and barangay officials who were present. Miss Eva Fe S. Pe, Venue Host, gave the welcome remarks followed by a message from Hon. Nestor L. Martillano Jr., Barangay Captain of  Virac, Itogon, Benguet.

Present on the medical mission were the faculty of College of Nursing and School of Midwifery and some selected students accompanied by their energetic dean Dr. Gina L. Casi whom upon arrival set up the event at the community’s basketball court. The program consists of medical consultations with volunteer doctors, circumcision, distribution of medicines, hygiene kits, slippers to the children and clothing and feeding program for the children.

From L-R: Dr. Ailen L. Rafael – School of Midwifery Coordinator, Dr. Everlyne G. Socal-CHSO, Dr. Gina L. Casi – Dean CONSOM and Ms. Olea P. Romero – Clinical Instructor
Clients consulting with Dr. Jeremie Marie A. Del Rosario and Dr. Cynthia Moran
Dr. Marie Jorelyn Bahingawan orienting the circumcision clients on proper hygiene

Dr. Jeremie Marie A. Del Rosario, MD, DPPS, DPAPP and Pediatric Pulmonologist handled the consultations for the pediatric clients. Dr. Del Rosario was also one of the major sponsors of the event who donated medicines for the medical mission. Medical Director of Mankayan, Dr. Cynthia Moran, MD who also volunteer physician, handled the rest of the consultation. Dr. Marie Jorelyn Bahingawan, from the Itogon Health Department also a consulting physician shared her time in supervising the circumcision and consultation.

: Dr. Marie Jorelyn Bahingawan giving her go signal for the minor surgery.
Nursing students performing the minor surgery

The Clinical Instructors and students showed their skills and patience to 72 circumcision clients. The guidance of the clinical instructors has paid off for the students showed their skills on performing minor surgery with confidence and handling clients who have lost their courage undergoing the surgery, making their mentors proud.

Nursing and Midwifery students on their stations.

The whole day medical mission ended with a closing remark by Hon. Fely Ekwasen, Barangay council member, who gave an inspiring message, thanking the organizers and sponsors of the medical mission and for reaching their community with the needed health care.

The medical mission was a success, leaving a spark of hope for the community and encouragement to our future health providers of serving the people with a purpose and to health educators to pursue transformative education and excellence.

The Medical mission would not have been possible without  support of the office of Congressman Eric Yap, the pharmaceutical companies, ABC Pres. Hon. Edwin Atumpag, Councilors Alejandro Palangdan and Diego Albino, DOH Baguio, Free Believers in Christ Fellowship International, Benguet Mining Corporation and many more anonymous sponsors. 

Awarding of Certificate of Appreciation by the Faculty and Dean – Dr Gina Casi to Dr. Dr. Jeremie Marie A. Del Rosario (center) and Dr. Cynthia Moran (right)