Summer Immersion Part 3
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!)
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)
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!
Ahmad ibn Hajiri
[Photos: all properties of Ahmad ibn Hajiri]