05212024.Web.Banner Xavier Ateneo News

Xavier Ateneo, through the collaborative efforts of the Social Development – Social Involvement and Advocacy Program (SIAP), College of Nursing (CoN), and Jose P Rizal School of Medicine (JPRSM), organized the “Dayong, El Gaucho”, medical mission and outreach program on 1 June 2024, for the workers and partner beneficiaries from El Gaucho community, Upper Puerto, Cagayan de Oro City. Motivated from the Cebuano term “dayong” which means to assist or carry, the outreach program seeks to support the El Gaucho community members towards self-sustainability and self-reliance.

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Volunteers of the “Dayong, El Gaucho” Community Outreach and Medical Mission

The Dayong El Gaucho initiative is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well Being and is part of the Social Development Week 2024 Celebration with the theme “Padayon XU! Continuing Commitment to Sustainable Development”. Mr Nestor M Banuag Jr, Director for SIAP, mentioned that the activity is inspired by the community outreach initiated in last year’s SD Week Celebration. For this year’s community outreach, the SIAP team decided to reach out to members of the New Manresa in El Gaucho community, as Banuag further noted, “Why not these communities or families within Xavier University? Instead of looking for farther or other communities, we already have one here”.

The community outreach activity catered to beneficiaries residing in the 109-hectare property in El Gaucho, Upper Puerto. This initiative is built on the acknowledgment of urgent needs within the community, where residents encounter difficulties in accessing healthcare from their local centers and resources for sustainable living. Dayong El Gaucho was organized in collaboration with community organizers from the El Gaucho Project Management Team. Mr Mart Markines, community organizer leading the El Gaucho team emphasized, “Huge help siya kay mabal-an pud nato unsa ang mga needs sa atong community para sa mga bata, sa senior citizen, ug sa mga adults.”

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Students from the XU School of Medicine led a public health lecture for the beneficiaries in El Gaucho.

The services provided included community health profiling, medical consultation, operation tuli, gift giving, free medicine, and feeding activity. A public health lecture on rabies, diabetes, and hypertension was also done by the students from the School of Medicine. Through comprehensive health screenings, public health lectures, and community bonding activities, the project not only addresses critical needs but also fostered empowerment and solidarity among community members.

The volunteer doctors have observed during the consultations that majority of the patients suffer from upper respiratory tract infections. Dr Janice Yuson, Social Development Coordinator for the JPR School of Medicine, also observed that a significant number of children presented skin lesions on their legs. “Mas maayo kung ato masuta kung unsa ang hinungdan ngano daghan samad ang mga bata.” She recommended investigating the area to determine the exact cause of the presented concern.  

Aside from the lack of access to healthcare and the health issues observed by the doctors, Markines also identified the following concerns in the community that connect to the issue on health: lack of accessible transportation, source of water, electricity, and food.

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Volunteers from the XU School of Nursing conducted a health profiling to the patients before proceeding to the medical consultations.

Moving forward, SIAP plans to adopt the El Gaucho community for their future projects and engagements. Banuag mentioned that the office will continue to collaborate for further interventions for the community in coordination with the community organizers and leaders. “There is a strong desire in me to engage in more activities [like this] in the future to provide follow-up and continue contributing to the community’s health improvement,” Dr Yuson commented.

SIAP would like to thank the Office of the President, Social Development Cluster, El Gaucho community organizers, volunteers from the XU community, and the volunteer doctors from the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP) and Misamis Oriental Medical Society (MOMS) for their time and effort given towards this activity.

Coordination meetings with the El Gaucho community organizers led by Mr Mart Markines were organized to create an outreach program fit to the needs of the community. The initiative was well-accepted by the Office of the President and pledged to provide financial support for the medicines.