Written by Xin-Hua Yang & Mei-Ling Zhang
Translated by Grace Wang
TIMA members using videos and photos to illustrate their local medical services.
2017 TIMA Convention was hold in Hualien Jing Si Hall with many sharing from TIMA members around the world. On the 2nd day of the Convention - the 4th October, the medical team from USA, Brazil and Canada shared the advancement in medical technology, cross border free clinics and Chinese herbal medicine free clinic experiences with TIMA participants from over 20 different countries.
Touring medical van helping many local citizens
Medical services have always been very expensive in the United States of America and difficult as well due to the country’s huge land mass. Through the suggestion from Master Cheng Yen, the USA TIMA team started providing preventive healthcare services. A group of 6 doctors shared how the USA TIMA team provided ophthalmology, dental care and cancer screening services to locals. Ophthalmology free clinic is a well-planned activity in USA. Dr. Jun-Qiang Wen from the USA shared that the eyesight checkup and treatment were carried out mainly in poor areas, helping the patients doing checks or corrections and also provided glasses to children within 20 minutes for free, so their learning do not get affected due to poor eyesight. The rims of the glasses have Tzu Chi logos on them and the lenses were provided from local cooperative organizations.
Dr. Jun-Qiang Wen (front) sharing how the DaAi medical van provides eyesight checkups for children of South California, providing glasses to them in 20 minutes.
Texas was hit by the largest hurricane in 50 years Hurricane Harvey on 25th August 2017. Dentist Shirley Chen said the USA Tzu Chi volunteers rushed to the hit area to provide emergency daily necessities and in mid September, 3 medical vans went over to provide medical services to the locals, bringing the everyday preparation into full play.
Dentist Shirley Chen described how Texas was hit by the largest hurricane in 50 years Hurricane Harvey on the 25th Aug 2017. USA Tzu Chi members rushed to the area to provide emergency aid and 3 DaAi medical vans also provided medical services in mid September.
The medical vans departed from California to Texas, the setup beforehand alone took 3 days. As the local Texas TIMA members couldn’t test beforehand, and were not familiar with the assemble of parts, all the crew needed to be arranged from elsewhere to Texas, to make sure that all the equipment and facilities were working and all the sterilization works also needed to be completed on time.
Cancer Screening and Preventive Healthcare seminars raising health awareness
Dr. Kenneth Liao from New York Long Island mentioned that over the past 20 years, the New York TIMA team has been providing medical and health seminars monthly. Moreover, the team has been providing oral cancer screening, hoping to find and treat patients in the early stages of oral cancer, and through providing dental knowledge to locals to prevent them getting the cancer. 2 years ago, Tzu Chi USA started sharing resources and facilities with New York branch, helping to train dental assistants over a 2-day seminar. Furthermore, through inviting more doctors and Tzu Chi members to join, the branch was able to provide oral cancer screening and even treatments such as tooth filling, extractions, root canal therapy to those in need, saving them from getting expensive medical bills.
Dentist Kenneth Liao (front), describing how the greater New York area actively carried out 2-day training to raise dental assistants and inviting more doctors and volunteers to join.
Holding up to the idea of “sharing and making the best use of all resources”, from California main branch to the greater New York area all use the same Tzu Chi medical van. At the same time, hoping to lead New Jersey branch to attract local volunteers and get connected with the local areas. Dr. Bao-Jia Yu used a video clip and photos to illustrate how USA TIMA staff and volunteers continued to actively providing preventive healthcare services to the locals.
Dr. Bao-Jia Yu (front) explains holding up to the idea of “sharing and making the best use of all resources”, from California main branch to the greater New York area all use the same Tzu Chi DaAi medical van. At the same time, hoping to lead New Jersey branch to attract local volunteers and get connected with the local areas.
Cancer has been the top one reason causing death in the United States of America in recent years. Surgeon Fu-Min Chen from USA said in 2016, TIMA members started planning seminars on the topic of “Cancer and its prevention”. Dr. Chen wishes that he can attend 100 free clinics and seminars. At the age of 76, he has already achieved half of his goal. He sighed and said, “I don’t know if there’s enough time left.” Hearing his great vows, all the participants gave him a huge round of applause with great admiration.
Surgeon Fu-Min Chen from USA(front) said in 2016, TIMA members started planning seminars on the topic of “Cancer and its prevention”. Dr. Chen wishes that he can attend 100 free clinics and seminars.
Brazilian rural free clinics, love that continued for 21 years
Volunteer He Lin of Sao Paulo Brazil shared that TIMA free clinics to rural areas have been carried out over 21 years in Brazil. Till July of 2017, the free clinics has been provided in over 20 cities and helped over 170,000 people. Many doctors have been involved for over 15 years, their continual dedication is truly touching.
Physician Yu-Zhuang Lin immigrated to Brazil at the age of 12. Moved by Master Cheng Yen’s benevolent wishes and seeing how dedicated local volunteers are, Dr. Lin has continued serving patients on TIMA free clinics for over 12 years, with a compassionate, happy, non-complaining and grateful heart. He used photos to illustrate how they setup rural schools to become the venues for free clinics every month during weekends; providing general medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, all together up to 16 different medical services, functioning almost like a small hospital.
Obstetrics and Gynecology doctor Xiu-Ying Wu who has attended TIMA for 15 years described the rural areas that they visited the places which are about 60-80 kilometers from cities and were generally poorer areas. Every free clinic, usually around 90 volunteers would participate plus other local volunteers. Apart from free clinics and basic checkups, TIMA also provided glasses for patients and other services such as provision of medicine, free haircut, psychological counseling and legal advice services. Volunteers would also do home visits to poor families, checking out if there’s anything they could do to help. 2 weeks after the free clinic, volunteers would return to the same place, handing out the glasses and also provide health information and food baskets.
Brazilian TIMA team Dr. Xiu-Ying Wu (left), Dr. Yu-Zhuang Lin (center) and Sao Paulo volunteer He Lin (right), carrying out TIMA free clinics monthly for over 21 years without any gaps. Their footprints have covered over 20 cities, and up till July 2017, they have provided medical services to almost 170,000 people.
Canadian Chinese herbal medicine free clinics, walking in to all corners in need
Canada, a country like heaven in real, with abundant resources, is a country with a good welfare system where all citizens enjoy national healthcare. When Canada TIMA was setup in 2011, since it already has advanced medical service, Master Cheng Yen designated a mission hoping that the Canadians would have chances to get to know Chinese herbal medicine. As such, the mission of Canada TIMA was one with clear direction.
In September 2011, with the invitation from the Canada Taiwanese Cultural festival, 20 Chinese herbal medicine doctors held free clinics under open tents on the street. After 5 years of continual free clinics, starting from 4 doctors, now there are more than 110 Chinese herbal medicine doctors joining the free clinics. Executive Secretary of Canada TIMA Xiao-Fen Luo shared that in 2012, a bilingual (Mandarin and English) “Chinese herbal medicine health seminar” was hold, in 2013 an academic seminar on Chinese herbal medicine and in 2018, 2 seminars will be hold, one on the west coast in Vancouver and one on the east in Toronto. All the participants gave their best wishes by giving a huge round of applause.
Xiao-Fen Luo showed the attendances a video clip of the scenes shot at the Chinese herbal medicine free clinics that took place twice a month. A doctor in the video clip said that he feels nothing in particular on normal working days as he receives pay; however when he attends free clinics, although there is no pay, he feels extremely happy.
Canada TIMA also pays visits to aboriginal tribes, joins public health systems and emergency systems. Luo shared a case where a 180 cm-tall aboriginal woman, bursting into tears and fell to the ground when she realized she could not join the national health system; without the acceptance, she could not receive any medical service. Many attendances felt really sorry hearing the sad case.
Executive secretary of Canada TIMA Xiao-Fen Luo (left) shared since September 2011, with the invitation from the Canada Taiwanese Cultural festival, Chinese herbal medicine free clinics were provided in Canada. Holding bilingual (Mandarin and English) “Chinese herbal medicine health seminar” in 2012 and an academic seminar on Chinese herbal medicine in 2013.
Chinese herbal medicine doctor Xian-Ru Gao growing up in a wealthy family started to rethink of her comfortable life after joining TIMA free clinics, where she saw poverty in real life for the first time. During a home visit, she saw the wife of the family in depression and was lying in bed unable to move freely and the husband had home violence problems. After Chinese acupuncture treatments, the couple opened to the medical staff and told their stories; the husband confessed how he drenched himself in alcohol in order to forget his unhappiness.
Canadian Dr. Xian-Ru Gao expressing her thoughts. Growing up in a wealthy family, Dr. Gao started to rethink of her comfortable life after joining TIMA free clinics, where she saw poverty in real life for the first time.
All the participants felt content hearing all the different touching stories from around the globe. Malaysian Dr. Li-Han Dai was most moved hearing how USA TIMA used medical van to help children growing up in rural areas, providing glasses for the ones in need. As children grow up, the development of different organs is very important. Dr. Dai said if short sightedness is not corrected in time, then the eyesight will be affected enormously in the future. At a young age, Dr. Lai has only joined TIMA for 2 years. The sharing from the seminar taught her the true spirit of the slogan ‘if people cannot come, then we will go to them’. She said she will get more involved with TIMA activities when she returns home.
Malaysian Dr. Li-Han Dai, joining TIMA only for 2 years, after hearing all the sharing, realizing the spirit of the slogan ‘if people cannot come, then we will go to them’.
The paths that the living Bodhisattva walk is like a round track, no one is ahead of another. As long as one starts, and puts effort in, then one becomes a living Bodhisattva right away. Some countries have advanced equipment such as medical vans, some only have minimal and do with anything available. The only thing that doesn’t change is the caring heart; looking after the ones in need around the world, executing the teachings of Tzu Chi Philosophy in real life.