By Fred Jover
Nursing is one area of the medical profession worldwide where Filipino nurses are prominently represented for over a century, since the first Filipino nurses were trained by the Americans at the beginning of the 20th century. Many of these nurses eventually moved to the US to fill a shortage due to the burgeoning American population. Over the second half of the 20th century, many western countries, including Australia, as well as neighboring Asian countries, like Singapore and Hong Kong and the Middle East, have benefited from the world-renowned proficiency and competence of Filipino nurses.
The state of Victoria is one major population centre of Australia where Filipino nurses have made their mark.
A community beneficiary of the skills and expertise of Filipino nurses are the elderly, particularly the Filipino seniors.
The Australian Filipino Nurses Association of Victoria, Inc. (AFNAVI), a professional and community support group composed of Filipino nurses mostly based in Melbourne, launched a seniors support group two years ago. The “Seniors on the Move” (SOM), presided by Senior Nurse of Western Health Maria Theresa Dumapias, operates once a fortnight with the support of the Melton City Council through the use of their Burnside Community Centre. AFNAVI’s SOM also relies on support of volunteers like Marie Santiano-Roxas and husband Raul Roxas and the other half of Roxx Mixx duo, Stiffany Bacanto-Chung, who can magically revive the “rock and roll” energy of some of the seniors.
Other allied community groups like Movement for Filipino Solidarity of Vilma Egan, FILAMSS of Nida Schofield, and Katipunan-Australia represented by Eddie Datario and Elmer Ragel, also participate in the programme. Dumapias remarked, “I can’t wait to retire from nursing and focus more on expanding this programme state-wide.”
AFNAVI looks forward to bringing the program to regional Victoria in collaboration with regional community groups like, Filipino Australian Association of Ballarat Inc. (FAABI), Bendigo Filipino Foundation, Inc.(BFFI), Filipino Australian Friendship Association of Geelong (FAFAG), Samahang-Pilipino Australian of Gippsland (SPAG) and Seniors Group of Shepparton.
For more details on the programme, email Dumapias at email@example.com.