Meet the jolly Dr. Madi, the new Medical Director for HFI's NCD Project in Salcedo, E. Samar!

No one could disagree that being a doctor is one of the noblest professions. Doctors are the protectors of well-being, defenders of health, and guardians of human life. But what could be nobler than finding a doctor under the scorching heat of the sun, wearing only a t-shirt, and blending perfectly with the underprivileged community they serve?  It is indeed quite a rare sight, but there are a handful of doctors who braved taking the unusual path to bring health care closer to the marginalized.

HFI’s new Medical Director for the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Project Dr Madison “Doc Madi” Dominguez is among the brave souls who took the road less-traveled. Doc Madi, a University of the Philippines-Manila College of Medicine graduate, left the comforts of Metro Manila to serve marginalized communities in the fifth class Municipality of Salcedo, Eastern Samar. He will be staying there for a year, traveling rough roads, crossing seas, trekking mountains, and promoting healthy lifestyle to fight NCDs such as hypertension and diabetes among others.

How did you make the decision of leaving Manila to work as a Medical Director for HFI’s NCD Project in Salcedo?

To be honest, it was not an easy decision especially now that news of Filipino physicians being killed while on their duty stations are still fresh. But I believe it’s a decision reinforced by fate. I’ve always find myself within a circle of people or in events where health and service to the community is the focus. I’ve met Doc Jimmy Galvez Tan, HFI Founder and Chairman, in one of these events. Our meeting, I believe, was an inspiration at the right time and place. One thing led to another and here I am now, pursuing a dream and molding a vision.

Give 5 words that describe your first week in Salcedo, Eastern Samar.

1. Fiesta. The Poblacion was celebrating a fiesta when I arrived. They were very warm and welcoming.
2. Settling-in. Since I’m new in the place, there was a lot of settling-in happening and it includes A LOT of cleaning.
3. Cleaning. Since I’m a bit OC, especially with the overall appearance of the house, cleaning so far takes most of my time outside work.
4. Internet. Since I arrived here in Salcedo, I am only surfing the net during the early morning when the signal is not so erratic. I still need a lot of getting used to in this aspect knowing how easily we can connect online in Manila.
5. Cooking. Since there is no internet, I have resorted to cooking as one of my past times.

How are you dealing with the language barrier (Waray)?

The language barrier is a given and I sort of prepared for such by learning a bit of Bisaya beforehand– thinking that it is related to Waray and because I cannot find substantial materials to learn Waray.  I was wrong. They are totally different. Thankfully, there is always a person (patient, nurse, midwife, barangay health worker) who is willing to translate for me. There were some funny times too when I instinctively spoke a weird mix of Kapampangan (my hometown’s dialect), Bisaya, and Waray. It was as if my mind processes all non-Tagalog words I know as one language. I am hoping to learn at least conversational Waray before the year ends and I believe I am doing some progress during the past week.

What are you looking forward to in your work as a doctor for HFI’s NCD Project?

In the short term, I’m looking forward to visiting all barangays of Salcedo. That would be a milestone for the project since after that day, I would most likely be meeting these patients the second time around.

What motivates you to be a public health doctor and serve marginalized communities?

I know it is scary taking a path that is taken by few people, but the journey of serving and healing these communities who need help the most always excites me.

Welcome to HFI, Doctor Madi! We salute you and all the other doctors in the field for your service and compassion.

 Health Futures Foundations, Inc.
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