The Province of Oriental Mindoro must be proud of their future Doctor who is currently a Miss Universe Philippines 2020. And as a medical intern, She wants to tackle the issue of equitable access to healthcare in the country. It is always a timely matter because health should be a right rather than a privilege.
Adee Hitomi Ariate Akiyama laments about how it is very evident in our country that people in the lower economic strata are the ones most affected by this pandemic because of the number of patients flocking in public hospitals. It is alarming to witness that these people are the ones most at risk because of their exposure hazards. Sadly, they cannot afford to get sick and avail of the services of private hospitals. If focus will be given to the healthcare system of the country with proper funding alloted for improvement of public hospital facilities, then everyone would have the proper care that they deserve.
Another point Adee wants to highlight is the gravity of misinformation that has been going around on social media, messaging apps and satire accounts. It is disheartening that some people are taking advantage of the pandemic to spread lies and cultivate fear. She wants to promote proper verification and discernment of information prior to sharing.
During this crisis, Adee created a donation drive called “Heroes without capes but with masks”. This initiative started out small as she just wanted to collect enough from friends and family to provide face masks for frontliners of AFP medical center where her boyfriend works. But soon enough, friends encouraged her to make it a bigger project and help other public hospitals as well. Overwhelming support came from people and they able to raise over a hundred thousand pesos in less than 30 hours. They were able to donate thousands of masks to different public hospitals like PGH, Lung Center of the Philippines, Army General hospital, AFP medical center and many others.
With two of her doctor-siblings, a free online consultation was also started where patients can send inquiries anytime of the day for medical guidance. They made use of social media and messaging apps to ask for photos of their problem areas to better assess their conditions and eventually send their online prescription. This was continuously done to help decongest the people traffic going to and from emergency rooms and thus lowering the risk of passing the infection on.
Adee will make one fine Doctor in the future. With a strong support system in her family and social circles, I bet she will go beyond lip service in her chosen advocacy.