After months of delays attributed to constructions and weather-related issues, the Dentistry For Every Village Foundation finally had the opportunity to open another charity dental clinic in the Philippines. The clinic was originally scheduled to open last October 2022.
The event occurred Saturday, February 11, 2023. The facility, dubbed as the “DMIA Wellness Center” includes a full-service dental clinic and two rooms for a medical clinic. It is located at the campus of the Divine Mercy Integrated Academy at Barangay Soledad, Villareal, Western Samar.
The blessing was done by Archbishop Isabelo Abarquez of the Diocese of Calbayog, Samar, assisted by the school Assistant Administrator, Sister Mary Jane Baguhin and School Principal Elma G. Arquillano. Rev Father Bonaventure Valles, the School Administrator sadly missed the event due to health reasons. Present for the Foundation were Dr. Ed de la Vega, President, Marcela L. de la Vega, BSN,RN MN- CFO/Secretary and Dr. Amry Jane Chavez, Special Assistant to the President.
The Wellness Center will be managed by the wonderful nuns from the Franciscan Order of the Divine Mercy, headed by Sister Mary Jane Baguhin, as part of their health care ministry for the residents of Villareal and its surrounding communities. Villareal and its surrounding communities are designated as a “4th class municipality” due to poverty, poor infrastructure, and inadequate road system. A licensed Filipino dentist, Dr Arlyn de Cadiz-Andrade, from the neighboring island of Leyte will man the dental clinic.
The construction of the more than 2000 sq feet Wellness Center was funded by the Friends of the Franciscan Order in Cebu and other surrounding Islands.
Dental equipment was provided by the Dentistry For Every Village Foundation. The funds used to procure the dental equipment were provided by multiple donors and dentists friends of the Foundation in the Southern California area.
The International College of Dentists Global Visionary Funds through the Henry Schein Cares Foundation donated $6500.00 worth of the dental supplies.
The major equipment that included a dental chair and unit with accompanying overhead LED light, cuspidor, and assistant’s package; one horse-power compressor; central vacuum unit; and wall-mounted periapical x-ray unit were procured from a local dental equipment supplier in Manila, New Citizens Dental Supply. The digital x-ray sensor was supplied by the Rabstream Dental in Quezon City. All the above-mentioned equipment were installed by the regional service technician of New Citizens Dental Supply supervised by the newly designated technical engineer of the Foundation, Efrenilo Noza, a former resident of San Jose, California and now living in Manila.
The rest of equipment and supplies were procured in the US including all the surgical and basic hand instruments, the extra-oral aerosol vacuum system, the Pure’Home Hypochlorous acid fogger and the ultrasonic prophylaxis unit that is custom mounted on a rolling platform for convenience in storage. An aneroid wall mounted sphygmomanometer with a stethoscope was also installed close to the dental unit for easy access and storage. A computer that runs the digital x-ray and the office management system was also installed.
The sterilization alcove and its equipment were funded by retired dentist, Dr. Teresita Pabalan of Anaheim, CA. Included in the alcove is a tray cabinet for the colored coded instrument trays designated per procedure- composite fillings, crown and bridge procedures, oral prophylaxis, endodontic, and prosthodontic procedures. The cabinet is equipped with a UVC light to keep it germ free and a blue LED light for esthetics.
Also included in the sterilization alcove are a 1.8-liter steam sterilizer, an ultrasonic instrument cleaner, an emergency eyewash unit, touchless soap dispenser, and a heat sealer for plastic sterilizing pouches.
An “Assistina Handpiece Cleaner” donated by Dr. Evelyn Ascough of San Diego was also installed at the sterilization alcove.
The lab is adequately equipped. It has a model trimmer, vibrator, butane torch, basic instruments, rotary polisher, coiled air sprayer and a micromotor polishing machine with assorted bits.
A well-equipped restroom was also provided complete with a bidet on the toilet bowl. A private office for the dentist includes a sink, refrigerator, microwave oven , coffee maker, and bread toaster.
To address the water supply issues, the Foundation installed a new dedicated pressurized water tank to provide adequate water for the Wellness Center.
After the blessing and the opening ceremonies, a sumptuous lunch was served by the school followed by a dental mission that treated over 150 patients from the community and the school. Procedures done included patient education, extraction, composite fillings, and oral prophylaxis. Toothbrushes and toothpastes were distributed to everyone that came to the mission.
Providing the actual dental treatment were volunteer dentists from the Group A Dental Associates from Las Piñas City : Dr. Amry Jane Chavez-Noza; Dr. Luz D. Villanueva; Dr. Maria Leah Imperio; Dr. Cesar del Rosario and Dr. Maria Delia Picardal. The DMIA dental clinic staff dentist, Dr. Arlyn de Cadiz-Andrade and her daughter, Dr. Mara Andrade and Dr. Lannie Torrevillas of the Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City were present. Dr. Neil Gavino, MD, a medical intern from the same hospital also came to lend a hand.
A local radio station, RMN Tacloban 99.1 FM provided live news coverage of the event. There to provide coverage were reporters “Radyoman”, Justine Traya and Leo Lledo. Before that, members of the Foundation were guests of a talk show “Straight to the Point” featuring anchor, “Radyoman” Edward Sañagan and Kevin Siosana, anchorman for “FreeForAll”. Director for the show was Gerry Anover, Chief of the Technical Department. Arrangements for the radio programs was coordinated by Patrick Aurelio, the Corporate Responsibility Officer of Radio Mindanao Network.
Dental supplies for the mission were supplied by the International College of Dentists Global Visionary Funds of Flint, Michigan and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation of Melville, New York. The rest of the unused supplies were divided as startup supplies for the new clinic and for future dental missions for the year 2023.
One positive incident that occurred during the opening of the dental clinic and the dental mission that followed was the declaration of the Class 2023 valedictorian from the Divine Mercy Integrated Academy to pursue dentistry beginning in June 2023. The young man, Xydone Jhon Cliff Romano, was a volunteer assistant. He was so awed and impressed by the professionalism and the services provided at the whole event that his decision to be a dentist was sealed by the end of the day. Dentistry for Every Village Foundation and one of the dentist volunteers, Dr. Luz D. Villanueva committed to fund his dental education and already recommended him to the Iloilo Doctors College of Dentistry in Iloilo City for admission and put up the initial funds to complete his application papers. Dentistry for Every Village Foundation feels blessed that they have inspired another soul to pursue dentistry.
The Foundation wishes to extend a special thank you to Mr. Ronald Ortillano and Mr. Rafael C. Altamirano Jr. for their endless patience in driving us around back and forth from our home base in Tacloban City to Villareal Samar a short 54 kilometers distance but a 2.5 hour drive due to the very poor road conditions and the seemingly endless rains with drops so big that they sound like someone is dumping rocks on our van.