The foundation went to the South American country for the first time in February this year, following the massive earthquake that devastated areas in the south of the country, and delivered aid to the survivors. From that time, it took root in the country.
In April, Dr Yang Chuanglong, a local doctor, coordinated to set up the Chile branch of TIMA to provide free medical aid to those who need it. A visit to a doctor costs about 15 per cent of the monthly income of the average Chilean and the queues are long; if the patient wants to see a specialist, such as an eye consultant, he can wait about a year. But, at the TIMA clinic, patients were able to see an ophthalmologist immediately and could, with a prescription, obtain a pair of glasses paid for by the government.
The clinic was held at a school in Peñalolen (Pinya-lolane), a commune in Santiago Province on July 24, with 11 doctors, one pharmaist and 19 volunteers. Within three hours, they examined and treated 111 patients. It was a bitterly cold winter day, with the temperature of five degrees Celsius; the sky was grey and the ground damp from early morning shows. In the distance were mountains capped in snow. "This winter is unusually cold, so a lot of people have fallen sick, with a high percentage suffering from bronchitis and pneumonia,” said Dr Yang. “It is good to have a free clinic now, because we can provide them with medication -- many locals cannot afford medication." One patient said that the clinic had helped the patients a great deal and provided drugs as well: “we are very poor and also have to wait for a very long time to see a doctor." Another patient said that the left side of his body had been aching: “but I still do not want to go to the doctors because the wait is too long. I have to be in line at five in the morning."
The patients at the clinic received treatment different to the norm at ordinary clinics and hospitals; volunteers helped them every step of the way. Though TIMA in Chile is only three months old, the team of medics and volunteers worked skillfully, united in their determination to alleviate pain and suffering.
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