Arayat Super Health Center – A Dream Fulfilled

For years a centralized municipal health center with multiple treatment facilities and a high-end dental clinic was only a dream for the people of the Municipality of Arayat in the Province of Pampanga, Philippines.

Now thanks to the awesome leadership of a husband-and-wife team of municipal leaders, Mayor Ma. Lourdes M. Alejandrino and  Vice-Mayor Emmanuel “Bon” Alejandrino, in a few months the dream will become a reality!

With the Mayor and Vice Mayor pulling together and backed up by the Municipal Council and other leaders, a proposal was submitted to the national government to fund a super health center for Arayat. The proposal was given a green light and the Department of Health approved the multi-million-peso budget to build a center that include among others, a family planning center, dialysis center, a birthing facility, medical labs, medical consultation center and a dental clinic.

However, for some reason or another, the dental clinic design that was included in the proposal did not appear to be adequate, at least in the eyes of a local resident Monico Alejandrino, an architect and a cousin of the Vice Mayor and an advocate for enhanced municipal services in Arayat. He thought that a simple room with a dental chair and supporting equipment is not what a super health center makes. He envisioned a well-equipped dental clinic where people can experience treatment at a top-notched dental clinic in their own hometown.

Sadly, the budget has been set and asking the national government for more funds for an enhanced dental clinic will only delay the construction of the whole building. Besides,  there is no assurance it will be provided.

But to Architect Alejandrino that was not an issue because he had an ace in hand. He suggested that if small changes can be made on the floor plan, he will find ways to equip a dental clinic that is close to international standards in so far as floor design, equipment, instrumentation and functionality  are concern.

The Mayor and the Municipal Planning and Development Engineer, Enrique Ocampo, had no problem with that.

Mr. Alejandrino contacted the leadership of the Dentistry For Every Village Foundation and discussed the issue. The Foundation was his ace! Following a lengthy discussion, the leadership of the Foundation  board voted to take on the problem head on not only because they want to help the Mayor and Vice Mayor who also happen to be cousins of the foundation President, Dr. Ed de la Vega, but more importantly, they did not want to miss the opportunity to help people at their ancestral hometown improve their access to excellent oral health care.

We have donated full service dental clinics to three different places totally unrelated to us and it will be a pleasure to do it again, this time at our ancestral hometown

Dr. de la Vega

With the help of a design team, Design MEKEMA, LLC in Woodland Hills, CA,  a proposed dental clinic layout was made to be incorporated in the general plan. It includes a space for a large operatory, cephalometric x-ray room, a central sterilizing alcove, an in-house lab and all the bells and whistles that make up a well-appointed dental clinic. The design was submitted to the Municipal Engineer and the Mayor. Both approved it whole-heartedly and agreed to include it in the design of the new super health center building.

With that a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Municipality represented by the Mayor and the Foundation stipulating that the Municipality will shoulder all the costs of construction per design made for the Foundation to make the clinic operational. The Foundation will provide all the necessary dental equipment and start up dental supplies.

Dr. de la Vega agreed to spearhead a fund raiser to procure  all the dental equipment  and make the clinic a memorial for their maternal grandparents, Filomena Medina and Pastor Alejandrino.

Since it’s a memorial for family members Dr. de la Vega thought it wise to tap cousins for the funds instead of the Foundation’s traditional supporters and donors. Fortunately, the response was positive, and some funds were immediately made available to start buying what the clinic will need. The Foundation will cover the rest.

Construction for the building has started and it is on track to be completed in  4-5 months. The major equipment had been ordered. A number of  small equipment, hand instruments and non-perishable supplies had been procured, and packed in four  balik-bayan boxes and shipped to the Philippines. Upon arrival in the Philippines, they will be stored at the Foundation offices in Paranaque City until they are installed at the new super health center.

It is worthwhile to mention that the dental clinic once operational will be in good hands. This is because a very capable professional,  municipal dentist, Dr. Frank Kibanoff will oversee its day-to-day operations.

Barring any unusual delays, the dental clinic will be blessed and opened on December 1, 2023,  in time with the traditional celebration of the “Alejandrino Day in Arayat” honoring General Jose Alejandrino, a fearless patriot and a great revolutionary leader during the Spanish and American conquest of the country in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.

On June 17,2023  Dentistry For Every Village Foundation and its support crew, Group A Dental Associates of Las Piñas City will hold an outreach dental mission in Arayat. Besides providing dental care, the mission will introduce the Foundation  leaders and crew to the Municipal leadership in Arayat and the people the Super Health Center Dental clinic will eventually serve.

The mission is in part sponsored by the Radio Mindanao Network Foundation, Municipality of Arayat, International College of Dentists Global Visionary Fund  based in Flint, Michigan and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation in Melville, New York. Upwards of 150 patients pre-screened against covid will be treated and fed.

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