Tzu Chi Foundation- Bohol, in cooperation with the Provincial Government of Bohol, and Department of Education (DEPED), conducted dental mission for the elementary students in the remote barangay of Pagnitoan, Maribojoc, Bohol on December 12, 2018.

A total of 93 pupils and 53 parents from Pagnitoan Elementary school, Tinibgan Elementary School, and San Isidro Elementary school arrived in the Barangay Hall of Pagnitoan to avail the dental services such as tooth extraction, dental filling, oral prophylaxis or dental cleaning, and free medication. Aside from the dental mission, TIMA pediatrician Dr. Jelpha J. Robillos also provided free medical consultation to seven children of Pagnitoan and Tinibgan, Maribojoc.

Before the activity started, the staff volunteers and Pagnitoan Barangay Councils prepared the venue to accommodate the participants. A Tzu Chi prayer and introduction to the four missions of Tzu Chi followed after. The activity started at around 8 o’clock in the morning with 14 dentists from Provincial Health Unit, DEPED, Department of Health, and TIMA who provided dental services to the children.

Residents from Pagnitoan Maribojoc headed by Barangay Captain Leo Gentiles expressed their deep gratitude to Tzu Chi Foundation for organizing such event in his barangay.

“Dental care, though very important, is at the bottom of our constituents’ priority list considering the pricey cost of dental services in private clinics. With this, we are truly grateful to Tzu Chi for bringing these services despite the distance of our barangay to the city.”, said Capt. Gentiles.

The pupils of Pagnitoan Elementary School are also thankful for the free dental services.

“I want to thank Tzu Chi for the dental mission. At last, there will be no more toothache for me. I promise to practice oral hygiene starting today”, said Jay Raymond Ugaling, an 11-year-old pupil of Pagnitoan Elementary School.

Since it was the first time for most pupils to avail dental services, their parents accompanied them to show moral support. Neliza Gelicame, a resident of Tinibgan, Maribojoc, brought her husband and children in the venue.

“When we arrived here, we found out that Tzu Chi also offered free consultation to children. My baby here had been sick for days, and had rashes all over his body. We worried about his condition but we have no means to take him to a pediatrician. Thankfully, God heard our prayers and sent Tzu Chi to help us.”, Neliza emotionally narrated.

TIMA doctor Dr. Jelpha Robillos also expressed her gratitude to Tzu Chi for inviting her in the medical mission.

“This is my first time to join a medical mission with Tzu Chi. It is a great joy to serve others. I joined the team because I saw Tzu Chi’s sincerity and overflowing compassion to the less fortunate people.”, said Dr. Jelpha

The Tzu Chi staff-volunteers, volunteers from Maribojoc town, and the Pagnitoan Barangay Council worked together to make the event fruitful. Tzu Chi- Bohol aims to extend its dental mission to more towns and islands of Bohol in the coming years.

The dental mission in Pagnitoan is the third dental mission conducted since the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Tzu Chi, DEPED, and the Provincial Government of Bohol on July 22, 2017. The aim of the MOA is to provide adequate dental care to public schools across the province.