Christian doctors in Jolo

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Rosalinda L. Orosa

Rosalinda L. Orosa

“Good morning, Ma’am,
I am Dr. Fahra Omar, from Sulu Provincial Hospital, Jolo, Sulu. I called up Manila Times for the contact number of Ma’a’m Rosalinda Orosa.

This 2016 is the centennial year of the provincial hospital which Dr. Sixto and Dr. Severina Orosa established in November 5, 1916. I happened to be in Manila for an official business and I am taking the opportunity to visit Maa’m Rosalinda. I visited them in their home in Makati around 10 years ago.

We can’t thank the late Dr. Orosas enough for their services for our people by starting the hospital system in the province of Sulu almost a hundred years ago.
Your kind assistance will be highly appreciated.

Thank you very much.
Sincerely,
Dr. Fahra Omar”


A few telephone calls and two hours after this email was handed to me, Dr. Fahra Omar with three of her siblings came for a delightful afternoon visit. She gifted me and my sister, Helen, beautiful Habul Tiahian (wraps).

Dr. Omar’s brother, Atty. Nabil Tan’s mother-in-law is Hadja Jubaira Rasul Izquierdo, the last living daughter of the late Hadji Butu Rasul and the half sister of the late Ambassador Abraham Rasul, husband to Senator Santanina Rasul.

 (From left, standing) Atty. Nabil Tan and Nehri Tan with (from left, seated) Wahida Tan, R.N., Rosalinda Orosa, and Dr. Fahra Omar

(From left, standing) Atty. Nabil Tan and Nehri Tan with (from left, seated) Wahida Tan, R.N., Rosalinda Orosa, and Dr. Fahra Omar

Hadji Butu, the Prime Minister of the Sultanate to Sulu during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, became Dr. Sixto’s patient, thereafter, they were good friends.
The following details will complete the striking contribution to the nation’s health by the Orosa couple.

After graduating from the UP College of Medicine in 1916, with Dr. Sixto Orosa as salutatorian and Dr. Severina Luna as valedictorian, the couple, having closely hewed to the Hippocratic Oath, sailed to Jolo, Sulu where there were no doctors. Besides heading and supervising the Sulu Public Hospital, the couple trudged dirt roads to visit the sick Muslims in huts, hovels, shacks and shanties, and sailed on vintas to minister to the Badjaos out at sea.

As chief Division of Hospitals, Sixto drafted the Provincial Hospital Bill which, after Congressional approval, led to the construction of 17 provincial hospitals throughout the archipelago. He also drafted the rules and regulations governing provincial hospitals as well as their required medical equipment, both of which are still in force.

As director and chief surgeon of the Negros Occidental Provincial Hospital for 10 years, Sixto performed on record, besides major surgeries, 500 appendectomies without a single mortality before antibiotics were in use.

Dr. Sixto’s medical record includes prescribing the correct treatment for an unseen patient whose symptoms were sent him only via a telegram. As Central Bank physician, he diagnosed a case of leprosy that his predecessors had failed to detect.

Other facts on the Orosas’ medical record are in my book “Tapestry”, a family epic which is available at the Solidaridad Bookshop in Ermita and the National Bookstore.

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