Lara Marielle L. Castillo, Ф2018, Class 2022
On March 10, 2018, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority, in partnership with UP Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, held a Gynecological Mission at the Skills Training Center of Sitio Pingkian, Looc, Nasugbu, Batangas. The Gynecological Mission is an annual event organized under the guidance of sisses from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The sorority seeks out communities in need and provides lectures on maternal & child health, along with free cervical cancer screening through visual inspection using acetic acid (VIA), bimanual pelvic examination, and breast examination. This year, 35 mothers from nearby barangays were able to benefit from the services offered by the sorority. On this day, the spirit of service and sisterhood was reignited in the hearts of all those in attendance.
Prior to the event, Dr. Ira Dominique Tabada Alatraca-Malonzo, Ф2004, Class 2009 gave the LU 3, LU 4, and LU 5 sisses a brief lecture on gynecological history taking, pelvic exam, and VIA on March 2, 2018. A skills lab training for bimanual examination of the pelvis then ensued. This workshop greatly helped the resident sisses prepare for the gyne mission.
On the day of the event, bleary-eyed and groggy sisses assembled at the PGH flagpole as early as 4:00 AM. After receiving a short pep talk from Dr. Joanne Karen Sarmiento Aguinaldo Ф1997 Class 2002 and loading needed materials and equipment for the day, sisses excitedly boarded the bus, and set off on their journey to Sitio Pingkian, Batangas. The resident sisses were joined by Dr. Clarissa Lim Velayo Ф1997 Class 2002, Dr. Reysa Omay Autentico Ф2008 Class 2013, Dr. May Bugagao David Ф2008 Class 2013, Dr. Serines Virian Dela Cruz Decano Ф2008 Class 2013, Dr. Patricia Marie Tan Fernandez Ф2011B Class 2016, and Dr. Raisa Pecson Butalid, Ф2013 Class 2017.
Sisses arrived at the Skills Training Center at around 7:30 AM, and quickly set up the venue with the help of the UP Ugnayan ng Pahinungod volunteers. There were two rooms for use in the center: one where the public health lectures (PHLs) would be conducted for the women and their children, and another where the various examinations (VIA, bimanual pelvic exam, and breast exam) would take place. Making the most out of the resources at hand, sisses made improvised partitions out of bedsheets in between beds, using two tall stalks of bamboo to hold them in place.
At around 8:00 am, after the venue had been prepared, the Pahingunod volunteers fetched mothers and children from the nearby Barangays Papaya and Looc. They had previously been invited by their Barangay Health Worker (BHW) to participate in the event. Since the Skills Training Center is quite far from surrounding barangays, the Pahingunod volunteers used a van to fetch the mothers and their children.
Once at the venue, mothers and children first registered their names, then were directed to the PHL room for a brief public health lecture. At around 8:30 AM, the first PHL was conducted by Ф2017 (Phireflies). During this PHL, mothers were taught how to perform breast examinations on themselves, as well as an overview about cervical cancer, its various risk factors, and the basic principles behind VIA.
The mothers then started with history-taking and the examination proper while their children were left in the room for another PHL, conducted by Ф2018 (DiversiPhi). This PHL centered on good hygiene, including proper tooth brushing and handwashing practices. The children were treated to games, prizes, and a short dance number during this 30-minute lecture.
After the PHL for children, DiversiPhi then joined the other resident sisses and alumni. Phireflies were mainly in charge of taking participants’ gynecological history and vital signs, as well as performing breast exams; Phi Batch 2016 (Ph16ht Club), under the guidance of our alumni, performed the bimanual pelvic exam and VIA.
It was beautiful to see sisses passing on their knowledge to the younger batches. Our alumni were assisted by Ph16ht Club (Ф2016) sisses; Ph16ht Club, in turn, endorsed the proper breast examination procedures to Phireflies (Ф2017) sisses, and demonstrated how to do the bimanual pelvic exam and VIA. The youngest batch, DiversiPhi (Ф2018) was welcomed into the gyne mission by first observing how to take proper gynecological histories and vital signs before doing these on their own. They were guided by the Phireflies.
The event ended at around 4:00 PM. After packing up, taking lots of photos, and singing the Phi Lambda Delta song to wrap up the day, sisses headed back to Manila on a Phi High. It was indeed a day that exemplified service and sisterhood, and one that will be remembered in the years to come.