Ahmad Sampang ibnu Hajiri, MD

A Personal blog by a Tausug medical student (now a doctor!) from Sulu and the stories that inspired him.
Follow Me
June 27, 2015

Assalamu Alaykum (Peace be upon you) and a blessed month of Ramadhan!

Alhamdulillah, it’s exactly 10 days since I arrived home to Jolo (exactly a day before Ramadhan started :) Since my arrival, I have been working on three things: my summer immersion, my summer elective course and spending a productive Ramadhan with my family. What are those first two?

Well, as many of you who personally knew me, I am part of UPCM’s Regionalization Program (RP) who are composed of medical students from the far flung regions in the country who will soon in sha Allah serve the community after graduation from medschool. We are known as the “RP Students” and every summer vacation, you will find us going back to our community doing our “summer immersions”. We conduct a variety of activities during the said immersions: from conducting public health lectures to surveys on community baseline health data. After each immersion, we are then required to submit our summer immersion reports to which a roster of finalists will be selected for the Annual Gawad Serbisyong Pangrehiyon Best Student Summer Immersion Award. (The report is also a mandatory requirement for us to be enrolled in the next school year haha)

Last 2 years, my first summer immersion in Siasi, Sulu (unexpectedly) won in the Individual category. Let me share to you a secret: I was not supposed to be the winner in the first round of judging. My paper was not that impressive. It was only during the case presentations—which by the way, I just prepared the night before—that I was able to somehow save it. Alhamdulillah! But then again, the award was not my aim in the first place. Back then, all I wanted was for the medical community to see the hidden beauty of that small island where I stayed for more than a week, and make realize the potential it has in terms of improving the provision of health services to the people. Alhamdulillah, it paid off somehow (the cash prize? I used it to pay my rent LOL!)

Gawad Serbisyong Pangrehiyon 2013

My next summer immersion paper on the other hand did not even make it to the finalists. What I did then was conduct my immersions in 3 different areas still in Sulu. I spent 2 weeks in Jolo, 1 week in Pandami and another week in Siasi. Honestly, I wasn’t able to make that much "change" to the communities I went to. What I did back then was simply visit the communities, experience working with the health workers, learned their procedures and analysed their problems, then compared my experiences throughout the one month immersion. What I failed to do then was conduct an intervention project which will have a significant impact to the community. Nevertheless, it was still a month long of learning experience for me. I learned more about dealing with patients in the community and be exposed to the common problems we encounter in the health centers: both the clinical diseases and the socio-economic ones as well.
With RHU Siasi in Laminusa Island during Field Visits last June 2014

With RHU Pandami going to Hambilan port, June 2014

With the RHU Jolo team on our last day for the immersion. May 2014
Now this year, I will be daring myself to go a little different, steer the wheel slightly towards another direction. I am going to be conducting my summer immersion in line with my Off-Campus Elective in Philippine Health Policies and Programs (particularly in Health Information). This is known as the RxBox project and I will be doing it in Jolo for a whole month. This will surely be an exciting experience for me as this will be the first time that an electronic medical record/data management will be conducted in RHU Jolo. This is part of the initiatives of the National Telehealth Center (at UP Manila!), and the Local Government Unit to improve health care provision in the Geographically Isolated and Depressed Areas (GIDAs) like Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. (To learn more about the RxBox project by the NTHC, pls click here)

Going electronic? ^_^

As before, I am looking forward to learning more and more to become a better physician and better serve my community in the Sulu Archipelago.

Please include me in your dua’s. May Allah make this endeavor easy and fulfilling, Ameen.
Again, a wonderful and blessed Ramadhan to all Muslims in the world! And a big, big kudos to all those people who never get tired in pushing forward the achievement of Universal Health Care especially in the underserved-areas around the world!

Salam Kasilasa!
Ahmad ibn Hajiri

[Photos: all properties of Ahmad ibn Hajiri]


Assalamu Alaykum (Peace be upon you all)

Last week was, if I could literally translate it, was indeed a "hell week" for us ICCs. We had our final exams on Pharmacology, Otorhinolaryngology (ORL), Ophthalmology, Pediatrics and NeuroPsychology, had our Annual Comprehensive exam (200 items presented in a time-allotted powerpoint slide) and our ever-dreaded Grand OSCE (stands for "Objective Structured Clinical Examination, something like a practical exams with different stations). After the last exam in Friday of that week, we were already in a "finally-its-over" mode until the results of the exams came in. Some of the students did not make it to the passing rate of some station sin the OSCE and so they have make up for their grades. I failed in two of the stations (Psychology and Pedia: Vaccinations station). That afternoon we finished the "repeat exam" for the Psychology station, Alhamdulillah we all passed. The repeat rotation for pediatrics was scheduled the next day: A 3-hour duty in different wards in PGH.

It was then that my last day of ICC year was extended for another day.

Did I regret failing in the OSCE? At first yes, but later on I was in fact more grateful that I unintentionally did so. Why? I realized that spedning my last day as an ICC interacting with patients was far better than grumbling over pages of exam papers trying to find out what's the best letter to shade on my answer sheets ^_^ And I was not wrong.


The Saturday of that week (yesterday as per this writing), I spent my last day as an ICC (3rd year) student in the Pediatrics ward to complete my "Repeat rotation" as I unintentionally failed one of the stations in the OSCE (something like a practical exam). Honestly, at first I was disappointed as I was supposed to be spending a good acads-free weekend. But later-on as I approach the end of my "duty", we were asked to monitor the vital signs of some patients. It was a short and then became a wonderful encounter that I never expected in the first place.

I met Matt, who was so cheerful, he even offered his snack to me (to which I declined. Come on it was his only snack!). He keep on asking his mom when will they finally get out of the hospital. He would even make comments about some of the kids who cry often (a normal thing in the Pedia ward)

I met Andrew, who had a "hole in his heart", and after asking him what he wanted to be when he grow up, he shyly answered: "Like you, kuya. I want to be a doctor." I simply smiled and told him to do his best and achieve that dream. I want to see him become a better doctor one day. And before moving on to the next bed, he asked what's my name. Andrew found a "best buddy" while staying in the ward, a fellow patient next to his bed. But he was asleep when I came to visit, so I wasn't able to talk to him.

I met Kyla. Well, she was just sleeping. A fragile angel at 4 days old who came to the world too early (31 weeks). Perhaps she was too excited eh? While struggling to find her pulse, I wondered if ever I could hear her speak or see her dreams, what would they be?

I met a few more kids in Ward 9 before the last patient to be monitored. We finished around 10 minutes before 6PM (we were supposed to end at 5PM). But rather than complain about extending our stay, I was in fact more glad that I did... It felt more fulfilling.  That day I went home not feeling as exhausted as I expected, but instead with a heart filled with hopes and dreams for those kids I met. That last day of my ICC year gave me more reasons to tell myself how much I really love this job.

After that one week of toxicity reading pages upon pages of notes and readings, we tend to forget that we are here not for the grades we desperately try to salvage, not even for the diseases that we always try to make sense of. We are here for our patients: For these people who needed our services so badly.

Therefore we, as doctors, have that great responsibility to hone our skills and be better physicians each day. For after all, what is a doctor but a mere human flesh with nothing but a few knowledge and skills to treat his fellow kind. We are no different from them.

Salam Kasilasa,
Ahmad ibn Hajiri

Contact Form


Email *

Message *




This template was designed by SoraTemplates, "Boxer" Template. for free.

just saying. -Dr. Ahmad