Farmer in Nueva Ecija having a heart attack, saved by RxBox

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines — With the use of RxBox, doctor-to-the-barrio and municipal health officer Dr. Elena Oliva identified a patient having a heart attack in Nueva Ecija, saving the patient’s life.

“Felix”, the 75-year old farmer from Brgy. Viniegas, town of Llanera, complained of shortness of breath as he entered their health center. Felix has been Dr. Oliva’s patient long before, being a known Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and pulmonary tuberculosis patient. Using the RxBox, Dr. Oliva discovered that Felix has congestive heart failure, and was having a myocardial infarction (heart attack). With the immediate intervention and referral of the patient to the nearest hospital, he was admitted to the ICU, preventing his demise.

“Ang atake sa puso, may golden period na 30 minutes (Myocardial infarction has a golden period of 30 minutes),” the young doctor explained. “kung hindi nalaman na may sakit sya sa puso at binigyan sya ng usual niyang gamot para sa sakit niya sa baga, baka namatay na siya ng araw ding yun.” (If we weren’t able to detect that he has heart failure, and he was given his usual medicines for COPD, there’s a big chance that he’ll die that day.)

Llanera, Nueva Ecija is 1 of the 115 municipalities trained on how to use the RxBox, with 2 other sites in the whole province of Nueva Ecija.

One of the aims of the RxBox is to achieve the 4th and 5th Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which is to decrease maternal and neonatal deaths. But aside from saving mothers and their babies, RxBox can also cater patients with non-communicable diseases using its sensors such as blood pressure monitor, pulse oximeter and ECG, since some of the leading causes of mortality in the country are cardiovascular illnesses. Most of the time, these ailments can only be diagnosed using specialized equipment which are usually seen in hospitals and higher care facilities.

To quote Reynaldo, one of their patients, “Buti po may ECG na dito, hindi ko na kailangan magbiyahe nang malayo at malaman na may problema ako sa puso (We are blessed that we already have ECG here. I don’t need to travel far just to know that I have heart ailments).” Reynaldo, then 88 years old, is the very first patient that was able to experience ECG in Llanera.