Ang mga Manggagamot

Bago pa dumating ang mga Espanyol sa ating baybayin, may kaalaman na ang ating mga ninuno kung paano manggamot at gamitin ang iba’t ibang uri ng natural na gamot na kanilang minana pa noong unang panahon. Kilala bilang “Babaylan” ang unang mga manggagamot sa loob ng mga pamayanan na tinawag din bilang mga katutubong doktor (folk doctors), na nang lumaon ay nagsanay na upang maging tunay na manggagamot. Ayon kay Antonio A. Limson, MD sa kanyang artikulong “Surgery in the Philippines”: ang mga sugat ay ginagamot sa pamamagitan ng pag-apply ng mga dahon at bark ng mga puno, isang sistema na ginagawa pa rin sa mga katutubong tribo sa mga liblib na lugar na hindi nasakop. Maaaring may mga aral galing sa mga dayuhang medikal na kasanayan, mula nang makipagtulungan sa mga kalapit na bansa sa Timog Silangang Asya. At tulad ng sinumang makapangyarihang kolonyal, inalagaan ng Espanya ang kanyang mga sundalo at mga mamamayan sa Pilipinas. Ang unang ospital sa Pilipinas ay pangmilitar na itinayo sa timog na isla ng Cebu noong 1565 na kilala bilang Hospital Real. Inilipat ito sa Intramuros sa lungsod ng Maynila noong 1571 (kung saan pinalitan ang pangalan bilang Sternburg Hospital noong 1989) kahit na nawasak ito noong World War II.


Sa kanyang libro: A Century of Public Health in the Philippines (1997), sinabi ni Dr. Teodora Tiglao na ang gawaing pampublikong pangkalusugan sa panahon ng rehimen ng Espanya naging aktibo sa portera ng lumang kumbento ng Franciscan sa Intramuros, kung saan naglagay ng dispensary ang prayle na si Fr. Juan Clemente noong 1577, para sa pagpapagamot ng mga pulubi sa Maynila. Kalaunan ay tinawag itong San Juan de Dios Hospital noong 1659.

Noong 1806 kasabay ng nakakahawang sakit na bulutong, ang gawaing pampublikong pangkalusugan ay nagsimula sa paglikha ng Lupon ng mga Nagbabakuna (Board of Vaccinators). Kalaunan, ang tanggapan ng “Medicos Titulares” (Health Officers) ay nilikha kasama ang Lupon ng Kalusugan (Board of Health) sa pangunguna ng isang paring pangulo, gayun din ang pagtatag ng maritime quarantine noong 1885. Ang mga Espanyol ang nagpasinaya sa pagtatayo ng Carrie do waterworks  noong 1876, para sa pagtatatag ng unang medikal na paaralan, ang University of Santo Tomas noong 1872; isang paaralan ng komadrona noong 1879, isang pampublikong laboratoryo sa kalusugan noong 1883 at “medicos forense” (forensic medicine) noong 1892.


Nang sakupin ng mga Amerikano ang Pilipinas, mayroon nang 5 General Hospitals, 4 Contagious Hospitals, 2 Military Hospitals at 2 Naval Hospitals kasama na ang ilan pang mga institusyong pangkalusugan. Saksi ang mga Amerikano nang makontrol ang epidemya na cholera, bulutong at peste; laban sa iba pang mga nakakahawang sakit na ketong, pagtatae, malarya pati na rin ang beri-beri; ang pagtatatag ng isang organisasyong na mangangasiwa sa kalusugan at kalinisan. Noong 1899, sa panguguna ni Apolinario Mabini, pinahintulutan ng Malolos Republic ang konstitusyon ng National Association of the Red Cross, hanggang sa binuksan ang sangay sa Pilipinas ng American National Red Cross (ANRC) sa pagtutulungan ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas at Amerika sa Ayuntamiento sa 1905.


Nang lumaon ay pinasinayaan ang paggawa ng Edukasyong Medikal sa Pilipinas, hindi lamang dahil sa kakulangan ng gamot kundi dahil na din sa kakulangan ng mga manggagamot. Ang unang nag-iisang medikal na paaralan ay ang University of Sto. Tomas. Nang maglaon sa pagtatatag ng Bureau of Science noong 1905 na nakikipagtulungan sa Philippine General Hospital at Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, naging aktibong ito sa pagtuturo ng agham at pananaliksik at siyang gumawa ng mahalagang  kontribusyon sa pampublikong kalusugan.


Long before the Spaniards came to our shores , our ancestors  already know how to make use of the type of hygiene and preventive medicine they understood and practiced since the earlier centuries. Locally known as Babaylans were the first healers within the tribal communities of ancient time, which then later emerged as folk doctors, then followed by trainings and deployment of true medical practitioners were emerging eventually. According to Antonio A. Limson, MD in his article: Surgery in the Philippines, wounds were treated by application of leaves and bark of trees, a system that is still practiced among indigenous tribes in remote areas that were not colonized. There may have been rudiments of foreign medical practice, since the engaged in trade with neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.  And like any colonizing power, Spain took care of her soldiers and her citizens in the Philippines. The first hospital in the Philippines was a military one that was built on the southern island of Cebu in 1565 known as Hospital Real. This was transferred to the walled city of Intramuros in Manila in 1571 (later renamed Sternburg Hospital in 1989) though it was destroyed during World War II. 

In her book: A Century of Public Health in the Philippines (1997),  Dr. Teodora Tiglao stated that public health work during the Spanish regime inauspiciously activated at the portera of the old Franciscan convent in Intramuros where a friar Fr. Juan Clemente put up a dispensary in 1577, for treating the indigents in Manila. This eventually became the San Juan de Dios Hospital in 1659.  

In 1806 with the infectious smallpox virus spreading, real public health work started with the creation of the Board of Vaccinators. The later on , the office of “Medicos titulares” (health officers) was created together with a Board of Health with a priest as president, thus maritime quarantine was instituted in 1885. The Spaniards can also be credited for the construction of the Carrie do waterworks  in 1876, hence for founding the first medical school, University of Santo Tomas in 1872; a school of midwifery in 1879, a public health laboratory  in 1883 and “medicos forense” (forensic medicine) in 1892.

When the Americans occupied the Philippines, there were already 5 General Hospitals in operation, 4 Contagious Hospitals, 2 Military Hospitals and 2 Naval Hospitals and a few other more health institutions. The Americans witnessed the control of epidemic cholera, smallpox and plagues; the fight against other communicable diseases – leprosy, diarrhea, malaria as well as beri-beri; the establishment of a health organization and administration and general sanitation. In 1899, through the initiative of Apolinario Mabini, the Malolos Republic brought in the Constitution of the National Association of the Red Cross, until the Philippine Branch of the American National Red Cross (ANRC) was organized by Filipino and American leaders at the Ayuntamiento in 1905.

Then after, Medical Education was one of the concerns in the Philippines, not only because of the intimate relationship of medicine to sanitation but because of the scarcity of local physicians. The only existing medical school was the University of Sto. Tomas. Later on with the establishment of the Bureau of Science in 1905 working in close collaboration with the Philippine General Hospital and the University of the Philippines, it became an active center for scientific instruction and research and made valuable contributions to public health.

Photo Source: University of Michigan State
Colorized by: Bilog Bilugan


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