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SM Foundation’s mobile clinics

How these state-of-the-art vehicles have become indispensable in providing medical assistance to thousands of Filipinos in SM communities
/ 01:50 PM May 07, 2021

Written by Kenneth M. del Rosario for INQUIRER.net

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When it comes to providing medical assistance, the SM Foundation goes the extra mile, beyond what many would consider good enough. That’s because, to them, offering the best possible health and wellness assistance is the only way to go.

Each year, the SM Foundation conducts some 90 medical and dental missions across the country, providing services such as medical and dental consultation, eye consultation, tooth extraction, minor surgeries, and chiropractor services. 

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To further beef up the medical assistance they offer, the SM Foundation acquired five state-of-the-art mobile laboratories in order for them to provide a more comprehensive medical service for grassroot communities. With the laboratories-on-wheels, the foundation is now able to offer diagnostic services such as X-ray, ECG, glucose test, uric acid test, hemoglobin test, cholesterol test, bone density scan and ultrasound.

“The SM Mobile Clinics were purchased to provide diagnostic and laboratory services to people who cannot afford laboratory services—especially in areas where no such services are available,” said Connie Angeles, who heads the SM Foundation health and medical team. 

Aside from supporting SM Foundation’s “Gamot Para sa Kapwa” Medical Missions, the mobile facilities were also utilized to provide medical services for those affected by calamities  such as the recent earthquake in Porac, Pampanga, the Taal Volcano eruption, and the aftermath of strong typhoons like Yolanda – which is on top of the NGO’s relief operations (Operation Tulong Express).

Many times, medical missions with only free medical consultation and medicines are not enough to diagnose and treat patients of their health conditions. Patients’ diagnostic results aid the medical practitioners in medicine prescription. The SM mobile clinics, with its advanced medical equipment, provide complete specific and outright diagnostic results to patients and are accessible to any place including hard-to-reach rural areas. 

The importance and value of SM Foundation’s medical and dental missions, heavily supported by the mobile clinics, cannot be overstated. For many marginalized individuals, the mobile clinics and medical missions are their only source of health care services. 

Mobile Clinics as Swabbing Stations for Covid-19 Tests

SM Foundation

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During this challenging time and with limited medical missions, the SM Mobile Clinics have been serving a more timely and important purpose. Three of the five mobile clinics are in NCR and are being utilized as swabbing stations for SM employees, other personnel, and some of the employees’ family members for COVID-19 tests. 

Dr. Bless Bertos, a doctor of the SM Foundation, was sent to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to undergo a two-month training on the preparation and procedure of swabbing. The mobile clinics started with 20 patients but now accommodate some 70 patients a day. At one point, an SM Mobile Clinic swabbed 180 individuals.

The carefully labelled specimen are then submitted to a molecular laboratory in Mandaluyong. After that, results from the Detoxicare Laboratory are emailed to Bertos 24 to 48 hours after which, results are relayed to the patients or employer for handling. 

“We always ensure that our mobile facility is safe for our patients. As a practice, we disinfect the facility after every patient is served; then every Thursday, a professional disinfecting team does sanitation services for the clinic. Infectious wastes are always placed in yellow trash bags and stored in a special container for collection of DENR-accredited Infectious Waste Disposal team,” Dr. Bertos said.

“What motivates me during this pandemic is that I am able to contribute to ensuring the best health conditions at our workplace—that I am able to contribute to the mental health and wellness of our employees, especially for those who are exposed to the virus. It can be stressful getting a COVID-19 test done and sometimes, waiting for results can cause significant anxiety. By having a systematized testing for our employees, we are able to shorten the duration of their anxiety, which will enable them to hug and be with their families as soon as possible,” said Dr. Bertos. 

The staff manning the Mobile Clinic cum swabbing center don complete PPEs such as face masks, face shields, and gloves at all times to lessen the chances of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19. Physical distancing is also required of patients availing of the services. Foot-pumped alcohol is stationed at the entrance and exit of the clinic.

Physical examination of SM Employees 

SM Foundation

Ramon Durol, a family driver of an SM employee availed of a consultation with a neurologist in a medical mission conducted in Fairview.  He had driven his employer to SM Fairview who had gone for a meeting.  

Durol made good use of his time while waiting. He availed of the services of the ongoing medical mission. He had his hypertension monitored by the doctor. To top it all off, he got full medication for 30 days for his illness. He also availed of pneumonia shots while he was in the waiting area. 

“Nagpapasalamat ako na nakakuha ako ng gamot para sa isang buwan at noong naghihintay ako ay inalok ako ng pneumonia shot. Ang laki ng tulong sa akin nito sapagkat ang suweldo ko naman ay sapat lang  para sa pangangailangan ng pamilya ko. Iniisip ko sa ngayon kung ano ang aking magagawa para ibalik sa SM at sa
Diyos itong biyayang dulot sa akin,” said Ramon.

Big or small, the SM Foundation continues to commit to extend needed medical help to those who need them the most. For the SM Foundation, providing medical assistance is not just lip service. They take this to heart and hope that by ensuring the people’s health and wellness, they help in creating a more meaningful tomorrow for the Filipino people.

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