Written by Eric Bautista, MD, PGY-3 at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Internal Medicine Program while on Global Health rotation at Cachamsi in Riobamba, Ecuador in March 2017.
Global Health Background and Departing for Ecuador
I took off for Ecuador after my last night shift in residency. I left one of the most resource-rich and connected systems in the world and was off to experience medicine with much more limited resources. Being in a “developing country” is not new to me; my parents emigrated from the Philippines a year before I was born and I had spent some time back in the Philippines. I had also spent a summer visiting HIV organizations in India during college to investigate the impact of discriminatory laws against sexual minorities on the HIV epidemic there. Just this past year, I took a trip to visit my relatives in the northern tip of the Philippines. About a full day drive from Manila, it is a poor region of the Philippines that is not on the typical tropical tourist circuit. Having been to the Philippines multiple times in the past, I never recalled obesity as something I commonly encountered in trips in the past. This time was different. My family had asked many medical questions knowing that I was doctor: not about exotic tropical diseases, but about hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and arthritis. To me, “global health” for my family in the Philippines looked a lot like my practice in Kaiser. I was heading to Ecuador reflecting on this.