Bunhian Medical Station, otherwise known as the Hilgendorf Memorial Clinic (HMC) started in 1973. I was traveling through Bagabag one day after the completion of my residency training in surgery searching out a place where my wife and I could do some medical missionary. He told me of an Ifugao group in one of the remote areas of the province needing medical help. I told him I was not making any promise since I did not have any finances to start any clinic or medical work but said that if the Ifugaos in the area would build an air strip, I would be willing to come and make a survey. The people built the strip in three days. This started the ball rolling.
Meanwhile, my wife who had started a practice in a City Hospital, was called to see a serious patient whose position was quite important in the oil business. In the process of this professional relationship she was able to share Christ with the couple at the time of the need as the husband, the patient, turned for the worse and died. Having found a new meaning in her life and coming to know about our work among the northern mountain people, the widow donated a large amount of money to build our first medical clinic in Bunhian , Ifugao. At about the same time Dr. Danny Ong volunteered his services as a new graduate in medicine to pioneer the work in Bunhian. Soon after that, four Christian nurses came into the picture volunteering to work as nurse practitioners in Primary Health Care. The people offered the use of their homes for temporary clinic while a little building was being constructed for this purpose. In eight months the clinic was completed. This we named the Hilgendorf Memorial Clinic. We had the privilege of having Mrs. Hilgendorf herself cut inauguration ribbon and spend some time helping in the station within its first few weeks of operation.
When the clinic was built we developed the idea of a Primary Health Care service with an aim to reduce the number of patients requiring curative care by preventive care, health education and environmental sanitation. Subsequent nurses and doctors kept this aim in view. HMC because a pilot clinic of the MAP PHC program. Through the years we have seen the improvement of the health status of the communities and see less and less patients needing secondary and tertiary care. HMC now serves about seven barangays with seventeen BHW workers developed and trained.
We are also praising the Lord for the churches that have been planted through the aid of the medical work. We are happy to say that there has been an improvement of the community health status. The HMC now serves the communities as a health promotion center where various programs are carried out and monitored.
By: Dr. Eleazar Sarmiento, ’80s