The Philippines consists of over 7,000 islands, many of which have little to no form of healthcare, a daunting thought to individuals like Gaylene Andrada, a health nurse practitioner in Manila, Philippines.
Nearly a year ago, there were many children with the measles coming into the hospital where Gaylene worked. And according to Janet Garin, deputy minister at the Department of Health in the Philippines, any vaccination coverage that was being achieved wasn’t high enough to prevent future outbreaks.
The Department of Health soon issued a mass immunization for the month of September, which quickly prompted Gaylene to take action.
She said, “I came to realize that I need to do something for the community; I need to get involved. What can I do?”
Gaylene began volunteering with local youth groups to inform communities of the immunization programs by handing out flyers to families. As she was working with the youth groups, Gaylene began to feel fulfilled by helping families the community.
During this time Gaylene would also volunteer at the hospital, vaccinating children. “I want to care for those people who are sick, especially the needy and poor, because most of the Filipinos don’t have enough money for health services,” she said.
Many of the parents of the children who were vaccinated expressed gratitude for having the medical service, and that gratitude was one of the many things Gaylene recognized as a volunteer. One father who brought his two children to become vaccinated said, “This is for them, so they can grow up strong.”
Gaylene felt herself change through the volunteer work she was doing in her community. She felt as though she had become a better person, that after it was all said and done, she would be able to say that she did something for the Filipino people.
“It softens my heart. It really softens my heart,” Gaylene said.