About a month after they traveled to the Philippines with the mission to help poor and sick people around the country, a group of physicians comprised mostly of Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital doctors gathered at one of their colleagues’ homes for a reunion on Sunday.
Pulmonary specialist Dr. Chand Khanna has led several trips over the last decade, working with local doctors to go to countries across the globe. Trips have included a journey to India at a hospital founded by the Dalai Lama, Vietnam and Ethiopia with trauma and surgery doctor Guadata Hinika.
“We try to go to different countries,” Khanna said. “We generally have local physicians who’s from that country.”
Khanna was approached by his colleague, Dr. Felix Barte, about a trip to a hospital in the province of Leyte, as well as other cities like Manilla. After discussions began last summer and with some work finalizing preparations with the local government, a group of around 20 people, including 10 physicians and some of their spouses, helped more than 1,400 patients from Jan. 26 to Feb. 8 of this year.
“The goal in mind was to go and help the poor,” Khanna said. “(In) the Philippines — in big towns — you have hospitals and doctors, but the medical care is not very good. They don’t have enough physicians, they don’t have enough hospital staff. So, the main purpose for us was to go and help the public.”
Though these missions are not run through Henry Mayo, Khanna said they receive support to go on their mission, which included bringing at least $6,000 worth of medication to the Philippines. On their trip to India, Khanna said they brought their own instruments and scrubs in each person’s second suitcase while bringing their own personal items in their other suitcases.
The group also worked with members of the International Surgical Health Initiative on almost 200 surgeries while in the Philippines. Local doctors also received education about medicine and other techniques in caring for patients with medical problems.
“Most of us were raised in that kind of environment, so we can understand the hardships a lot of these people go through,” said pediatrician Peter Kim. “Our hearts are always there for them.”
Tentative plans have been made for two upcoming trips, one to Bangladesh at the end of this year and another to Nepal in August 2020.