Above: The Vice Governor of Catanduanes met with the La Conexión team. From left Peter Cua, Vice Governor of Catanduanes, Aries Calunsag from CASI, Michael Diehl volunteer, Sarah Tanner from Traditional Medicinals, (standing) Dr. Lee Sanders, Pip Sanders volunteer, Dr. Sabrina Braham, Cheryl Greene volunteer, Armie Aguilar from CASI, Leah Greiner from Traditional Medicinals, Dr. Michelle Sandberg, Dr. Alan Greene.
Our journey was one filled with inspiring outcomes and heartwarming camaraderie. I’d like to share some of the details with you of the inspiring work accomplished during our time on Catanduanes, the significance of our efforts, and the transformative experiences that await those who choose to join us in this remarkable initiative.
Why La Conexión Matters
Access to quality healthcare is a challenge for many underserved communities, leaving them vulnerable to preventable illnesses and ailments. By bridging this gap with ongoing support from remote healthcare experts, La Conexión aims to empower local healthcare providers and improve the overall well-being of these communities. The impact we have made and continue to make is not only life-changing for individuals, but it also strengthens the fabric of these communities, fostering a sense of hope and resilience.
Above: La Conexión physicians on the trip to Catanduanes – Dr. Alan Greene, Dr. Michelle Sandberg, Dr. Sabrina Braham, and Dr. Lee Sanders.
La Conexión’s Impact in Catanduanes
One of our key tactics was providing sets of Doctorgram telemedicine tools, generously sponsored by our partner, Traditional Medicinals. These kits consisted of a range of Bluetooth-connected medical devices, including a thermometer, blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, otoscope, pulse oximeter, spirometer, urinalysis tools, ECG machine, scales, and an iPad. The La Conexión team conducted training sessions with local doctors, midwives, nurses, and community health workers empowering them to utilize the equipment effectively.
The impact of these tools was gratifying. Not only did they enable local providers to deliver better care, but they also played a pivotal role in fostering trust between patients in the local communities and the local health team. This trust is a vital component of effective healthcare delivery in any culture.
Above: La Conexión volunteer, Michael Diehl, demonstrates the Doctorgram iPad interface to an eager group of nurses, midwives, and community health workers at Viga.
This demonstrates the power of La Conexión in connecting local resources to expert resources. D One particular incident involved a curious 24-year-old who requested an ECG, leading to the unexpected discovery of an abnormal reading. With the assistance of real-time analysis by a cardiologist in New York, a path to evaluation and treatment was established, potentially making a huge difference in her life.
Building Local Government Support
In addition to our healthcare efforts, the presence of La Conexión and the Doctorgram tools garnered attention from local government officials. The team’s dedication and the impact of their work raised the stature of the local health program in their estimation. As funding for these initiatives often comes from the local government, this newfound support is a significant victory. By elevating the visibility and importance of healthcare in these communities, La Conexión is paving the way for sustainable change and long-term investment in the well-being of the residents.
Above: Members of the La Conexión team and the local doctor meeting with the Mayor of Viga and his team.
The Spirit of La Conexión
Beyond the impact on healthcare, the La Conexión experience is about much more. As the team traversed the tropical paradise of Catanduanes, they formed bonds of camaraderie and shared unforgettable moments – with each other and with the people of Catanduanes. The connections forged among our team members created an environment akin to adult summer camp—filled with laughter, learning, and support. These experiences not only strengthen the team’s resolve but also add a profound dimension to the overall mission. The transformative power of the La Conexión experience extends far beyond the delivery of healthcare; it leaves an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of all those involved.
Above: La Conexión team members and local healthcare workers taking a selfie after a clinic in Gigmoto.
La Conexión’s journey to Catanduanes, Philippines, was a life-changing experience for our team of volunteers. But beyond that, we believe our commitment to bridging the gap in healthcare access and empowering local providers will be life-changing for the people of Catanduanes.