Since 2002, SM Foundation has made it its mission to bring new life to local health centers, boosting the community’s well-being and allowing them to take part in the country’s development.
Over two decades since, the foundation has revitalized close to 200 health centers, including the Naval Station Apolinario Jalandoon-Medical Dispensary (NSAJ-MD) in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. The facility serves as the anchor of the Philippine Navy officers patrolling and safeguarding the remote islands in the western part of the country.
According to NSAJ-MD Commanding Officer Dr. Aileen Velasco, beyond serving the Navy officers, they provide medical care to civilians living in remote islands in Palawan, which often do not have access to medical institutions or clinics.
With the medical dispensary’s tireless operations, the need for its revitalization became glaringly apparent. While it was structurally sound, it had an incoherent interior environment and space planning, which hampered its functionality.
The facade of the newly revitalized NSAJ-MD
“Ang galing ng timing,” Dr. Velasco said when asked about SM Foundation’s renovation.
“The medical dispensary needed the refurbishment as our walls had varying paint colors; our tiles and walls were uneven. Our things were also piled or stacked and have become an eyesore. It was timely that SM Foundation offered to help us with the renovation,” she added, discussing their upcoming DOH accreditation.
Through the social good collaboration of the SM group and the Philippine Navy, NSAJ-MD had new dedicated rooms for observation and examination. Each of the rooms is well-equipped with hospital beds, partitions, and medical equipment. With the improved layout, there are spacious rooms for consultations and storage of records, medicines, and other equipment. The new pharmacy also features enhanced accessibility.
NSAJ-MD’s civilian nurse dispenses vitamins and medicine inside the NSAJ-MD’s new pharmacy.
SM Foundation also improved the interior design of the health facility, aiming to help boost the morale of navy officers and encourage them to prioritize their well-being. It was painted with air-cleaning paints and adorned with locally-sourced plants.
“Morale of every personnel is very important. They work round the clock, away from their families, and this could affect their mental health without proper support. Kaya pag pasok pa lang nila sa bagong medical dispensary, may impact na ito sa morale at mararamdaman nila na, ‘Binibigyan kami ng halaga dahil pinaayos nila ‘yung dispensary para pag nagpunta kami doon, maayos nila kaming matitignan,’” Dr. Velasco said.
“Really, in all aspects of health–physical, mental, spiritual–napaka halaga na nurtured ang bawat sundalo dahil nakakatulong ito sa kanilang performance, not just in daily activities or tasking but also in their enthusiasm to keep on serving Filipinos,” she capped.