Tzu Chi International Medical Association is an organized global service network of over 5,500 licensed doctors and nurses who serve as volunteers. Volunteers serve in clinics in their communities, free health fairs and mobile clinics, and disaster relief where ever they are needed.
The Tzu Chi Medical Center in Alhambra, California provides affordable low cost primary health services to underinsured, disadvantaged and uninsured members of the community. They offer child immunizations, women’s health services, medical dental and acupuncture care on-site. If a patient is unable to pay the fees at the clinic, the payment is adjusted on a sliding scale according to California poverty line. We were lucky enough to meet with the heads of the Alhambra Clinic and get a tour of the facility. We sat down to a beautiful lunch with the volunteers of the clinic and discussed how they hope to continue and extend their reach in the community.
Tzu Chi also offers large scale mobile clinics to underserved and underinsured communities. Care 4 a Health Inland Empire is one example of Tzu Chi’s Southern California Chapter’s large scale health fairs. Molina Healthcare and Tzu Chi sponsored a three-day healthcare event at the San Bernardino Fair Grounds in California. People from all over the Inland Empire who were uninsured or underinsured were invited to attend the event receiving everything from medical, dental, and acupuncture care, eye-exams, glasses, well-child exams and vaccines. Each fair provides between 1500 and 3000 services.
People who have not seen a doctor in years will travel several hours and wait in line at 5AM to make sure that they, and their families, are seen by doctors and dentists. Tzu Chi offers food and water to the patients and their families as they wait. Volunteers walk from health station to health station helping patients fill out paper, directing them to their next appointment, offering them food or simply a smile and hug.
We had the priviledge of joining Tzu Chi at their Care 4 a Healthy IE and provided blood pressure readings at the intake station. We spoke with patients about what their blood pressure numbers and what they mean. For some, we were able to counsel them on daily steps they can take to help reduce their blood pressure numbers. It was a pleasure to be part of such a large scale event that helped so many individuals receive the care they need and deserve. We will continue to support Tzu Chi with medical diagnostic equipment to assist their local clinics and their large scale mobile efforts. We are grateful to Tzu Chi for all that they do and we look forward to seeing them become an even greater presence in the community. Learn more about Tzu Chi here: http://www.tzuchimedicalfoundation.org/