MANILA – More than 2,000 indigents from Manila’s District 6 have received assistance during a medical mission held by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and the city health department.

Saturday’s "TIKAlusugan sa Maynila Medical Mission" was the fourth to be conducted by TIKA, which is under the Prime Ministry of Turkey. It offered free laboratory tests, such as fasting blood sugar, electrocardiogram (ECG), blood pressure monitoring, blood typing, X-ray, eye and dental check-up, and tooth extraction, and extended free medicine and vitamins, as well as walking canes, wheelchairs, eyeglasses, and nebulizers.

“Immediately after the medical consultation and tooth extraction, patients were advised to proceed to the pharmacy booth, wherein medicines prescribed by the physicians were also given for free," Manila Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna said, noting that TIKA provided the assistance while the City of Manila mobilized its health workers.

"May the friendship between the Turkish and the Filipino people become stronger," TIKA deputy country director, Enes Hancioglu, said during a short program.

Hancioglu said TIKA has many projects in the Philippines.

"We have done projects related to education, agriculture, livelihood assistance, and relief assistance in times of great need," he said, adding that they have sent medical equipment to the Amai PakPak Medical Center in war-torn Marawi City.

Meanwhile, several residents expressed their appreciation for the free medical consultation.

Consuelo Mortel, a recipient of a wheelchair, said she was thankful to TIKA.

"Napakalaking bagay po itong wheelchair sa amin (This wheelchair means a lot to us)," a teary-eyed 60-year-old Mortel, a former overseas worker, said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

She said several mild strokes had left her unable to walk. Her first stroke occurred nine years ago and was followed by two more. Since then, she had difficulty walking.

Her husband Enrico Mortel, 61, said that due to Consuelo's condition, they had to sell their two residential apartments and close down a store that was their source of income.

With the wheelchair, he said, they no longer need to borrow one whenever they have to bring Consuelo to the hospital for her check-ups.

Enrico said he was glad that medical missions are brought to people like them who could not afford such expenses as transportation fares to seek medical help.

Melissa Rildon, 34-year-old mother of two, said she was happy to avail of a free medical check-up for her son and daughter.

"We were given medicine for cough and vitamins," Ridon said.

Benita Datuin said she was able to avail of free X-ray and ECG services for her four-year-old granddaughter.

"Mahal ang ECG kaya malaking tulong ito sa amin (ECG is expensive, that is why this is such a big help to us)," the 53-year-old Datuin said, noting that while health centers provide free check-up, they do not offer X-ray and ECG services.

"Talagang pupunta pa sa ospital na malalaki (We need to go to a big hospital to avail of these services)," she added.

Luningning Garcia, 60, said such medical missions ease their plight, “dahil may libreng gamot, libreng ECG, libreng X-ray, at libreng salamin at dental (because it offers free medicine, free ECG, free X-ray, and free eyeglasses and dental check-up)."

Garcia said her husband, who experiences breathing difficulties, received a nebulizer, while she received eyeglasses.

The first TIKA medical mission was held in Smokey Mountain last Nov. 4, benefiting more than 3,000 indigent residents. The second was held at the Delpan Sports Complex in Tondo, Manila last Nov. 11, and the third in Parola San Nicolas, Manila last November 18.

Two more medical missions are slated to be held on December 2 and 9. (PNA)