SM Foundation and its partners in the recent medical mission at SM Mall Fairview have signed a Memorandum of Agreement that guarantees a regular quarterly healthcare program for the benefit of tens of thousands of SM Group’s employees and their dependents.
The medical mission gave thousands of SM employees and their family members the opportunity to avail of free medical consultation, laboratory tests, prescription medicines and vitamins, even as they opened the comprehensive healthcare services also to residents in the surrounding communities.
Statistics showed that 1,117 employees including their relatives availed of the different medical health service providers while 293 came from surrounding communities. Foundation staff and volunteers made the process systematized and orderly.
As Connie Angeles, executive director for SMFI health and medical program, said: “We had to launch this service for the employees because most of them have already used up their HMO allotments for the year and have barely completed their check-ups and health services for themselves with nothing left for their family members or dependents.”
“Since we have been making our monthly medical and dental outreach programs for the communities where SM is located, why not for our own employees. This is the true meaning of charity,” Angeles explained.
Partners in the endeavor included the International College of Surgeons (its first time to get involved with SMFI’s healthcare activities) led by Dr. Gil M. Vicente; International Academy of Medical Specialists, Inc. with Dr. Federico A. Malubay, chairman, Medical Outreach Program; Dr. Frederick D. Francisco, who signed for Dr. Wilfredo S. Tagle, co-chairman, Medical Outreach Program; SM Fairview employees as volunteers, the Quezon City government; the Red Cross Quezon City chapter; Philippine Normal University; Multicare; Gx and Wilore.
Dr. Bless Bertos, head of SMFI medical and dental missions, said she did not expect such a huge number of people showing up. “Judging by their appearances, they came from all walks of life (the elderly who were wheeled into the venue; infants and toddlers, the poor and the rich), many of whom came from the nearby villages,” she said.
There were lectures by medical doctors on cancer, cardiovascular and diabetes diseases for those queueing for their turns at the various health services. A pharmacy for those who had been prescribed medicines by the doctors was in place, and a toy booth for infants and children was provided.
Since this is the first health undertaking for SM employees, an acupuncture booth (one of the bestsellers among the services offered there); an OB- Gyne “room”; a minor surgery “room” ophthalmological and optometry sections and two mobile clinic trucks (X-rays, ultrasound for kidney stones and ECG) were made available for the employees and other patrons.
SM Foundation also builds new or renovates existing community health centers and wards in military and police camps all over the country as part of its advocacy for a healthier Philippines. This is in consonance with one of the UN 2030 SDGs―that of ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all―essential to sustainable development.