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María Benita de la Cruz, M.D, Philippines

  • August 7, 2020
  • COVID Voices
Americares Staff

Americares Staff

Before Typhoon Haiyan, I was already training to become a good doctor, but after that, I really saw how important it was to have more health care providers here in our province — and the impact that a physician or any health care worker could have just to provide the services that we can for our fellow Filipinos. So, at that time, after Typhoon Haiyan — it didn’t stop us from continuing our education. I personally didn’t come from a very well-off family. So, my dad had to just to borrow money just to pay for our tuition fees, but it didn’t stop us. It didn’t stop me. It didn’t stop my parents from supporting me just to be the doctor that I am now.

I’m not the only doctor in the entire municipality, we have actually two doctors here — so, me and one of the doctors that had been deployed by the Department of Health. So, we called that doctor to the barrios because in our municipality, the ratio for patient to doctor is one is to 20,000. So, before she came in, it was one is to 40,000. I was the only one catering to 100 to 200 patients per day. So that’s why whenever I do consultations, I don’t usually do lunch breaks anymore, because I won’t be able to finish seeing them all.

And a lot of my patients here are really underprivileged. Most of them have to borrow money just to come here in our facility. So, they spend like 50 to 100 pesos just to hire a motorcycle just to be consulted. And when they come here, we try as much as possible to provide the medicines that are available here, but if not, they would have to buy outside. So, the out-of-pocket expense when you’re sick is really, it’s not practical. So, if you have good health, you won’t have to divert your money anymore. You could focus on the wellbeing of your family. The kids would no longer be absent from school. They can do more, function more and be better citizens, productive citizens of our society.