Oliver 9 0 0 6 min to read

Not to miss the opportunity to treat the barrios, new doctors are urged

Cebuano Cebuano English English Filipino Filipino


The typical route for medical students to realize their greatest desire is to complete their coursework, pass the board exam, and work at a hospital.

Being a “doctor to the barrio,” or working in rural communities, is a life-changing opportunity for Dr. Karina Viola Bulong despite being far from the ideal hospital work environment.

“As I said, it’s a good experience, and doctors don’t live a lifestyle that is hospital-centric. I recommend enrolling in the program because, in addition to the fact that it will place you in rural or underprivileged areas, there is also an offer for a master’s program that comes with the package. This will enrich your life and allow you to better perform your job while working in a rural or underprivileged area. A master’s degree program is also part of the contract package, which will help the doctors’ job, even more, she added in a recent interview.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2020 population survey, Bulong is in charge of the entire town’s Rural Health Unit (RHU), which serves 6,389 people.

According to test results announced by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) on November 9, 3,826 out of 5,958 medical students passed the Physician Licensure Examination and became the nation’s newest doctors.

A doctor’s ability to save lives with scant or no resources is put to the test, she claimed, when working in a barrio.

“Lakasan ang loob, kailangan maging resourceful. When working in a community rather than a hospital, where resources are more limited and less complete, it is necessary to be resourceful and dedicated in order to save lives because you do not have access to all the tools necessary to accomplish your job. You have to be content with what you have),” said Bulong, who has been a doctor for three years and participated in the DTTB program for two years and six months.

According to her, a doctor’s primary responsibility in a barrio is to provide care for the underprivileged, which gives them a glimpse into everyday life there.

“In my opinion, it is the viewpoint that the DTTB program is providing to the applicants and participants. Ang daling sabihin na bakit ngayon ka lang nagpa check-up at bakit hihintayin mong lumala bago ka nagpacheck-up pero kapag dito mo tiningnan, maintindihan mo bakit ngayon lang siya nagpa-check-up, kasi wala nga siyang pera You must realize that this is not because they place less importance on health but rather because they are more concerned with ensuring their survival and putting food on the table (it is simple to question why you haven’t had a checkup before and why you waited until your condition got worse before seeking medical help). It is not an option to put health first because ensuring survival and having food on the table is the top priority; you need to think about the logistics involved in traveling to the capital.

She continued by saying that in the barrio, a number of elements that are not taught in medical school but are learned through exposure to individuals, particularly those in remote locations, contribute to the health of the community.

Despite the difficulties of being a doctor in the barrio, Bulong said it is a rewarding job, particularly when she is able to save a patient’s life.

“The DTTB experience is tough to summarize, but in a resource-limited context, ang fulfillment ay kapag may napapagaling akong pasyente na akala ko hindi ko maitatawid (fulfillment comes when you can make a patient heal whom you thought would end his life),” she continued.

Given that she was the only physician in the entire town, Bulong claimed that at the height of the coronavirus disease pandemic, reducing infection cases and resolving the spike was rewarding for a barrio doctor.

She continued by saying that she has a humble life and takes great satisfaction in things like getting a new ambulance for the patients, bettering the facilities, and seeing government officials prioritize people’s health.

In a few months, according to Bulong, her contract with the DTTB will come to an end, and she will leave with more knowledge and capacity to help the less fortunate residents of the neighborhood.

“I’m going because I realized that even though I have abilities from medical school and my experience as a general practitioner, they are insufficient. I’ll be completing my residency to advance my education, increase my competency, and provide better care for the public, the doctor added.


Cebuano Cebuano English English Filipino Filipino


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