The Filipino LGBT Europe foundation in cooperation with the Doctors of the World, GGD Amsterdam and volunteers have been conducting free medical checkups and HIV testing every first Fridays of the month at Moses en Aaronkerk in Waterlooplein Amsterdam.
The coronavirus pandemic that started a year ago made it more difficult for so many people to have access in medical help. And one of the major complaints that we’ve heard from our Kababayans is their medical concerns. We understand that health is a very important aspect of one’s life especially when you’re living and working abroad that’s why our foundation has coordinated with the Red cross and the Doctors of the World to answer our kababayans call to have easier access on healthcare.
The initiative provides immediate medical care, HIV testing, STD testing, and also to supply relevant health teaching to create awareness regarding this specific disease including ways to avoid acquiring it.
The medical check up took place in one of the “zorgbussen” of the Doctors of the World. Patients underwent medical check up which we were able to help accordingly as the doctors are well trained and experienced to cater to the different complaints and problems of our participants.
“Dalawang araw na akong di nakakatulog dahil sa sakit ng likod ko kaya ako nagpunta dito.” (I haven’t slept for two days due to my back pain that’s why I came here today.” said one of the participants.
Also, part of the medical mission provided is Free HIV testing and health counselling. The event was conducted with strict compliance on maintaining everyone’s privacy and confidentiality. The whole procedure took maximum of 15 minutes where they are interviewed about relevant medical history and counselled on the importance of having safe sex. Secondly, one of the objectives of the testing was to identify positive participants, to help them through the disease process and to prevent complication that may arise when left untreated.
“Mahalaga ang HIV testing para maaga natin malaman kung tayo ay positibo o hindi at para mabigyan din tayo ng agarang lunas.”(HIV testing is very important to know if we are positive or not so we can receive early treatment.) One of the participants on HIV testing said.
This initiative is also in coordination with and supported by the GGD. Pamphlets containing helpful information regarding HIV/AIDS were also being distributed to each participants after the entire procedure. Free condoms were also offered to the participants to be used for safe sex, thus, lessening the chance of acquiring the virus. The activities were facilitated by the group of Philippine registered volunteer nurses who were responsible in crowd control, and interviewing the participants to gather information that would be of great help in the foundation’s advocacy to raise awareness of the disease. They also headed the blood pressure monitoring of the participants to determine their blood pressures and therefore refer them to their doctors once deviations are recognized.
Together we can do so much in changing the views of people regarding this disease. Education and awareness are the keys to decrease the prevalence of the disease and the discrimination that comes with it.