The quest for happiness – Part III

Patients of the Rolling Clinic of Doctors for Developing Countries – German Doctors on Mindanao and Cebu have answered the (sometimes not easy) question about what makes them happy.

Conception (61) with grandson Joever

„I am happy that my grandson was put on the list for the cleft lip and palate operation! His appointment for the surgery will be in November.“

Conception (61) with grandson Joever (2)

Conception is a farmer in Manipis, a village in the mountains near Cebu.

„I would really like to be a nun later. When I become that, I will

Janice (14)

be happy.“

Janice (14)

Janice lives in the mountains of Bukidnon in the village Bubonawan. She has to go down to the valley every day and cross a river in order to go to school. The school is about eight kilometres away from her village. Every way takes her about one and a half hours! There is no way for her to go to school if the water of the river is too high because the next bridge is too far away. Her favourite subject is MAPEH (abbreviation for Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health). She enjoys singing a lot. Her favourite song is „Find me faithful“. Faith means a lot for her. She comes to the consultation hour because of back pain.

Antipas (86)

„For me it’s too late to be happy.“

Antipas (86)

Antipas lives in a small village on the island of Mindanao. He used to be a farmer. 14 of his initially 20 children are still alive. His wife died a few years ago. How did he get this old? „That’s God’s will!“, he replies.

He comes to the Consultation hour of the Rolling Clinic because of a cough. He has to do a sputum test as tuberculosis is suspected.

„I am happy when I am with my friends. We usually play basket ball.“

Mario (17)

Mario (17)

Mario lives in the mountains of Cabanglasan.

„It makes me happy to have a family. I have five brothers and sisters and I still live with my family. In a few weeks, I’ll be a mother myself.“

Rose Jean (21)

Rose Jean went to school till the first grade of Highschool. She couldn’t finish school for

Rose Jean (21)

financial reasons. Her father is a farmer, her mother is a housewife. I’m meeting Rose Jean in the house of her parents. She is cooking lunch and seems to really enjoy housework. Rose Jean will go to the next bigger town Cabanglasan in order to have her baby there. After that, she will marry the father of her baby and move in with him. She is looking forward to having her own big family.

Translation: Ulrike Peter

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A good start for premature Shadrack

In the German Doctors Hospital of Doctors for Developing Countries in Buda, premature baby Shadrack tries to gain as much weight as he can.



Little Shadrack is 5 weeks old now. He was born on 3 July in the German Doctors Hospital in Buda, 9 weeks before the due date. After spending the first weeks in the South Philippines Medical Centre, he returned to Buda with his mum Carmen. He is well taken care of in the warmth of the incubator. Mum Carmen and the German Doctors team including Katrin Werth and Marc Flüthmann are doing everything they can to cocker the baby and take good care of it.

Until now, Shadrack has only slowly gained weight. Mum Carmen has been breastfeeding him once a day for 4 days now. Shadrack is supposed to get used to being breastfed as it takes a lot of strength. Shadrack is already doing it quite well.

After that, he is put on a scale. He weighs 1570 g, he has gained weight. Mother and nurse are happy about that. He should gain more weight eating and sleeping a lot. 

And maybe he will be released in 2 weeks.

Translation: Ulrike Peter

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How is Julien?

This week I met Julien again whom I reported on at the end of July (click here to view the article and watch the video again).

I’m meeting her in the waiting area of the Hospital of Doctors for Developing Countries – German Doctors where she is still waiting for the daily bandage change.

Julien is waiting for her daily bandage change together with another patient

„A specialist took a look at my leg“, she says happily. „I’m waiting for an appointment to be operated now.“

For five weeks she has been living in the Watchers Area of the Mothers Houses in Cagayan de Oro with her grandmother since she was referred by the Rolling Clinic Team from Cebu to the German Doctors Hospital here in Cagayan de Oro. Her grandmother accompanied her because children are only admitted together with a „watcher“, a person who takes care of them. In the Watchers Area, Julien has already found friends and fellow sufferers who also have to go to the Hospital daily and with whom she spends her waiting time.

These are normal periods of time for Philippine conditions. „Our operating rooms are fully booked at the moment“, surgeon Doctor Sugcang explains. „We hope to be able to operate Julien in the next week or the week after.“ Plastic surgeon Doctor Abellera will perform the operation. The specialist has already looked at Juliens wound and decided on the procedure best to be applied.  First, she needs to cover the wound. This will be carried out with a skin transplantation: Part of the top skin layer is removed from the thigh and transplanted to the wound at the foot. The wound, which is still open at the moment, will be closed and thus will not get infected anymore. The decision on how it’s going to continue will be made after two weeks if everything has healed well – after all, Julien’s foot will not be standing straight yet, she will still need crutches to walk. However, if everything goes well another operation will be performed in which the sinews will be stretched in order to put the foot in a straight position. After that, an orthopaedic specialist will take a look at Julien’s leg. She’ll possibly need an orthopaedic shoe which enables her normal walking.

The whole process will take the next weeks and months. As Julien and her grandmother don’t have any money, „Doctors for Developing Countries – German Doctors“ will pay for the expenses.

News about Julien and her condition will be published on this blog on a regular basis.

Translation: Ulrike Peter

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Competing for Miss Breastfeeding 2011

A competition of a special kind took place in the Mother’s House in Cagayan de Oro at the beginning of August: The „outstanding breastfeeding mother“ was selected under the theme „Ang Pagpangita sa Bantugan nga Inahan“. At the event on the occasion of the World Breastfeeding Week 2011, the candidates and their babies did not only have to prove that they are perfect at breastfeeding.

Enjoy the competition. It proves that advertising for breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily have to be boring or serious – quite the opposite!


The babies had the easiest task this morning: drinking as much as they can! The mothers had to make quite an effort. Task No. 1: Presenting mother and child. The first opportunity to earn sympathy points!

The title „Outstanding Breastfeeding Mother“ was awarded for the first time ever by the German Doctor’s Hospital and the Mother’s House in Cagayan de Oro. The Philippine Doctors of the Hospital, the head nurse and the German long-time Doctor Martin Grau made up the jury. They had to take a close look to pick their favorite out of the 29 candidates. Mothers who come from Cagayan de Oro City and have a maximum of four children – among them a baby younger than one year who is fed only by breast milk –  were admitted. The baby also needed to have received all necessary injections.

And then it’s crunch-time! The candidates had to prove that they master the correct breastfeeding technique. The jury took a close look. Can the baby breathe correctly during breastfeeding, is it held correctly, does the mother react correctly if it doesn’t drink? The jury had to make their first choice then. Only five of the mothers were to reach the finale.

Anne-Kristin Henker: „How is the decision coming along?“

Martin Grau: „It’s quite difficult, most of them are in good shape. But you can also recognise mistakes.“

Not only the mistakes were part of the decision but also the weight of the baby in relation to its age and height. Meanwhile, there were special show events for babies, mothers and guests – by the organisational team themselves, by candidate Ferlyn and by German Doctor Robert Henker. The jury headed by Doctor Myra Luminaria decided for five finalists. In the following round, the women had to answer the jury’s questions. Head nurse Eva Lieno wanted to know what the candidate would do if she had only little breast milk after a couple of days off.

„I’d drink a lot and eat a lot of soup, that promotes the milk flow“, answered candidate Angelica.

„How do you react if your child has to vomit every two hours?“, asked Doctor Martin Grau.

„I’d bring my baby to hospital“, candidate Sherlita replied.

Not at all an easy decision for the jury! Expertise and appearance were evaluated. It got really exciting, especially for the mothers! And eventually, head of the jury Doctor Luminaria announced the final decision.

26-year old Sherlita is the new Oustanding Breastfeeding Mother.

„Breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby!“ That was her statement to all the mothers. What does the future hold for Sherlita? Vilma Schug knows the answer. The competition was her idea.

„She will be an ambassador for breastfeeding. She gets the task to advertise for correct breastfeeding in her community and neighbourhood.“

All candidates received congratulations and a small presents at the end. They received a certificate as well as eggs and rice – and probably a big portion of motivation even without the title „Ambassador of Breastfeeding“.

Translation: Ulrike Peter

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Looking at their clothes, you often can’t see that they belong to the poorest of the poor. For the consultation hours of Doctors for Developing Countries – German Doctors many patients put on their prettiest and best clothes. Or they borrow them from their neighbours. Local employees visit the patients at home on a regular basis in order to confirm their real social status and thus their need for help free of charge by the German Doctors. This is what the employees pay attention to: How the patient lives, how many other family members live there (apart from the family with many children, grandparents and grandchildren often live there, too), what does the furnishing look like, does the patient own land and, if so, how much and is the land enough to make a living for the family, how many meals per day can the patient afford, etc. The neighbours are also consulted.

These screenings are not only carried out on Mindanao where the following pictures were taken, but in all projects of Doctors for Developing Countries.



Translation: Ulrike Peter

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No horsepower but muscle strength

The 10-day Rolling Clinic Tours on Mindanao bring the team of Doctors for Developing Countries – German Doctors though beautiful landscapes to often remote villages – on quite challenging roads. The car and all the team often get stuck after heavy rainfalls. In such cases, only muscle strength, creativity, and sometimes animal power can get them out. Just as last week in the area of Cabanglasan West in the village of Mainaga which has 460 inhabitants.



Second day of the Rolling Clinic Tour in Cabanglasan. The team has to go only eight kilometres. But the roads are muddy and the car is not exactly new either.

And then happens the inevitable: Nothing moves anymore just about 500 metres from our destination. But help isn’t far away. However, a first attempt with combined efforts remains unsuccessful. The following attempts also fail.

Time is short: the consultation hour needs to start. Without further ado, it is relocated to a nearby school. The pharmacy boxes are being carried the last metres.

No, that’s not the Filipino AA but maybe the bull can indeed help. But as much as he tries – nothing moves. Maybe with combined efforts it will work? Oh no! Now, the men have to get the car out on their own.

And then everything happens quickly. After about an hour it’s done. See you next time… 

Translation: Ulrike Peter

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The first Doctor in Bubonawan

A lot of excitement was in the air when the Rolling Clinic came to the little village Bubonawan in the mountains in the area of Cabanglasan West for the first time last week. Never before had there been a consultation with a Doctor!

The schedule was adjusted after area coordinator Dodong had discovered that many patients from Bubonawan were travelling to other Rolling Clinic places: From now on, regular consultation hours will take place directly in Bubonawan if the weather is ok because the way there is difficult. I accompanied a team of Doctors for Developing Countries – German Doctors for their very first consultation in the little village – you can join us through the video. Enjoy it.


The road to Bubonawan is quite difficult to master. The car and the team have to cross a river. Luckily, the water level permits crossing by foot and in the car.

Done! The team is excited about how it’s going to be today at the very first consultation hour in the village. The volunteers have prepared everything perfectly. We unpack the equipment and set it up: the pharmacy, the scale for the kids, the surgery behind some sheets. We are ready to get started!

Many people are waiting. We can see that the villagers are happy, curious and excited. Driver Raul admits the patients. Nurse Cheche has to help him today because many people are coming to the German Doctors for the first time. For every new patient, a new file has to be written, the so-called Blue Card. It takes some more time because some information is requested. Weighing is quite popular with the adults and the children.

German Doctor Robert Henker is starting out by treating the babies and small children. Mum Jinky has brought the whole family but only 1-year old Jason is to be examined. Everything’s ok! Many people take the chance today to have the German Doctor take a look at their little ones. Some of the kids find the examination quite strange.

It’s already noon and a lot of people are still waiting! We are continuing after a short break: A woman suffers from pain in the lower belly. A man with a sore swelling on the lower leg needs help.

As a German Doctor, you have to deal with quite a range of medical conditions. While a thunderstorm is approaching and the daily routine is continuing on the village square, Robert Henker treats a total of 84 patients. Luckily, there is no case of emergency today.

At about 4.30 p.m. it’s done! The Rolling Clinic is packing up again. Many people are watching curiously. And then we have to say Goodbye! The next German Doctors Team is going to come here in a few weeks.

Translation: Ulrike Peter

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