The UTHSCGSI will support and help coordinate work that is already being carried out by the
UTHSCGSI faculty in South America, Africa, and parts
of Southeast Asia.
What is the relationship between the UTHSCGSI
and Memphis Mission of Mercy?
The two organizations are collaborating to establish a
permanent mission site in Victorias, Negros Occidental,
the Philippines. Victorias has a population of slightly
more than 90,000 people, but that population is distributed among several islands where the poor have limited
access to primary care, much less to surgical care. To
find our mission home, we gathered public health data
and accessed information from several towns and communities with which we had an existing relationship.
We settled on the town of Victorias based on need.
What are the health care needs of the people
served by this collaboration?
The community of Victorias is one of the largest in the
region. The population is largely composed of plantation workers, laborers, and impoverished people.
Approximately 40 percent of the population has nutritional deficiencies, and 20 percent of the population
lives below the poverty line.
The community we are looking to serve has access
to primary care for indigent patients, fueled with finan-
cial support from a local foundation that is supported
through contributions from local philanthropists and
businesspeople. The primary care center offers urgent
care, emergency room, and infirmary services, as well
as some cancer screenings, including fecal occult blood
tests (FOBT) and pap smears with visual inspection
and acetic acid. In 2016, 73 cancer patients were diag-
nosed in Victorias, and as of March 2017, a total of 47
had already died. Access to surgical care is a challenge,
and poor patients on the island and in the region have
limited access to surgical services.
Cancer remains a largely untreated disease in the
region of Victorias. As was stated earlier, there is mini-
mal screening, partially due to cost and access. There
is no colon cancer screening, aside from FOBT, and
mammography is costly. Unfortunately, the incidence
of breast and colon cancer is on the rise in the Phil-
ippines, partially attributed to the emulation of the
No formal or published data are available on
untreated surgical issues in the community because
medically indigent people often do not seek medical
care for surgical problems until they need emergency
care. Elective surgery is really reserved for those patients
with financial means. The limited patient data that Vic-
torias has shared with our team include the following:
• The top five chronic diseases in Victorias are pulmonary
tuberculosis; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
diabetes/hypertension/cerebrovascular disease; cancer
(all types); and chronic kidney disease.
•The top five acute diseases in Victorias are acute
respiratory infection (bronchitis, pneumonia); acute
In the “minor surgery” section of the health center in Victorias,
this candle is used to heat instruments before cauterization
SEP 2017 BULLETIN American College of Surgeons