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This Pinoy Doctor Is A Modern-day Hero

“Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana turned his knowledge and career in healthcare into a way to help those suffering from HIV/AIDS. After discovering an increase of HIV/AIDS cases in his home country, he started a vigorous awareness and research campaign long before the Philippine government officially recognized the epidemic. Dr. Salvana also works with the disease globally, delivering educational, action-oriented speeches about the HIV/AIDS to the United Nations and the United States Peace Corps,”.

This was a commentary given to Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana, a Filipino Physician who combated HIV/AIDS in the Philippines through spreading awareness and extensive research about the disease, by the Joint Commission International.

Dr. Salvana is a graduate of Philippines Science National High School and later became a Magna cum laude graduate attaining a BS Degree in Biology in 1992 from the University of the Philippines Diliman. In the long run after his marriage, he was motivated by his wife to pursue Medicine from UP manila. He earned his medical degree in 2001 and went to the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee a year after for his residency in internal medicine. 

Dr. Salvana specializes in internal medicine, tropical medicine, and infectious diseases. He was listed in the TOYP for his contribution in the field of Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership. Along with the other nine honorees, Salvana was awarded at the  JCI World Congress last November 2012 in Taipei, Taiwan “for service, determination and action through adversity to create a better world.”

Salvana started an awareness and research campaign on HIV and AIDS long before the government recognized the epidemic. He said he felt he had to help after realizing he was the only one among the doctors in the Philippine General Hospital’s infectious disease section with extensive training in treating HIV and the resulting acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

“In one month, I saw 12 new HIV/AIDS cases. The youngest was 21 years old. He had symptoms which (occur only in) very advanced HIV cases, which means he got this when he was much younger. And I felt this is just ridiculous, we have to do something,” he told Philippine Star in an earlier interview.
He compared the Philippine HIV situation to “San Francisco in the 1980′s,” when a lack of information about the disease allowed an epidemic to emerge in that city.

The Department of Health reports that there has been an increase in diagnosed HIV/AIDs cases every year since 2000. Salvana advocates more training for doctors and more medical equipment, and believes government and non-government organizations need to find additional ways to inform the public about the disease.

Salvana’s advocacy gained international recognition through his educational and action-oriented speeches given in different parts of the world, including in the United Nations and US Peace Corps.

He has also promoted H1N1 awareness in the country and is the project leader of an online genome library to track Philippine H1N1 online.

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