SAN FRANCISCO — Every second Saturday of the month, elderly Filipinos are assisted by Filipino medical students providing free health care resources at the Bayanihan Community Center in San Francisco’s South of Market District, or SOMA Pilipinas.
This is all done through the Mabuhay Health Center, which is a volunteer-run organization.
They aim to address the health care disparities within the Filipino community.
“We offer basic health screening which includes blood pressure readings, measuring temperature, height and weight, the basic vitals. And then we also provide dental services and medical reconciliation, where we basically take our patient and help explain how to maybe use certain diabetes medication or hypertension medication,” said Abigail Huliganga.
Service from MHC begins as soon as you walk through the doors.
“If you have medical needs you would go to talk to your health coach and tell what your chief complaint is, and then from there on they would lead you to the health screening table where your vitals will be taken, and then you would go to the health education table and at the end you would meet with one of our doctors,” said Dome Enrico Lupac.
While MHC is primarily a student/volunteer-run organization, certified, practicing physicians are on-hand for the patients.
“Above or beyond the board of directors who manage the actual volunteers to see today we also have what are called preceptors from as Dome was saying the University of California, San Francisco institutions that are the licensed medical professionals that we team up with.”
Following all the screenings, the doctor will engage with the students to come up with how they will treat the patient.
“From there on they will take what your chief complaint was and what are the symptoms that led to it and give a recommendation on what to do. So one thing that could happen is they could prescribe remedies for you but they could also send you back to the referrals table to seek services outside of our clinic’s scope.”
Other than the services every second Saturday of the month, MHC actively engages the community through clothing and hygiene drives as well as assist in securing other services such as health insurance.
MHC will be celebrating its ninth anniversary of serving the community this December.