The Health Exemplars
Recognized for his anti-dengue advocacy, Dr. Richard Tesoro Mata, works patiently one barangay and one community at a time, as he envisions that each and every region of the country will be empowered with the proper knowledge and skills to significantly curb the rising prevalence of this potentially serious infection which cuts short the lives of hundreds of Filipino children yearly
By Gelyka Ruth R. Dumaraos
A man’s passion can be evidently seen through his dedicated hard work. But what’s worthy of admiration is when this passion is used not just for the betterment of one or a few, but the whole nation.
For years now, Dr. Richard Tesoro Mata has gone beyond the confines of his clinic and tried to contribute his share to public health by going down to the grassroots level, where he believes all modes of preventive medicine must emanate from. He aimed to empower various communities by increasing their awareness and applying the knowledge he imparts to them to prevent dengue, which remains a major health threat to many Filipino children and even adults.
The number of dengue cases in the Philippines has risen in the past years. In 2015, about 200, 000 cases were recorded, with about 600 deaths. The incidence has not been noted to decrease significantly despite all efforts by the government and the private sector. Whereas previously, the increase in cases was noted to be seasonal, with a rising incidence noted only during the rainy season, it has now evolved into a continuing problem all year round.
Dr. Mata realized the urgency of the situation, and heeded the call to pitch in his share to curb the alarming prevalence of dengue fever in the country.
A graduate of Davao Medical School Foundation batch ‘97, Dr. Mata spent 12 years in Panabo City, Davao del Norte to help the local government unit in the prevention and mitigation of dengue in the area.
Sharing his experiences and best-practices in Panabo City, Dr. Mata has also worked with the local government of Davao City to duplicate and expand what he has achieved in dengue prevention in Panabo City.
With his dedication and laudable public healthcare work, he received commendations from the two cities, citing his dedication to help decrease dengue cases and build long-term programs for them.
In order to spread dengue awareness in the country, Dr. Mata’s specialty was sought to help train 60 dengue coordinators from different regions, so the successes of the dengue programs in Davao and Panabo cities could also be duplicated in other regions in the country.
For his selfless dedication and commitment to his anti-dengue advocacy, Department of Health (DOH) secretary Jean Paulyn-Ubial has appointed Dr. Mata as the DOH Consultant for Prevention and Control of Dengue Fever starting October 2016.
Dr. Mata hops from one barangay to the other, guests on radio stations about his advocacy, shares practical pointers through his articles in various newspapers and join engaging talks on how cases and deaths due to dengue fever can be reduced in the country.
His work has also paved the way for him to be recognized as one of the Big Little Heroes of the Edge newspaper for his impact on dengue advocacy among the people of Davao and other areas.
Medical software wiz
Dr. Mata is not only an exemplar in his anti-dengue advocacy, but in harnessing the wonders of modern technology to improve patient care.
In his practice, Dr. Mata has seen the challenge and big need of keeping patients’ files well organized and easily accessible. Tracking patients’ records wherever the doctor may be was almost near to impossible, and was time-consuming for the highly stressed and busy physician.
He developed a medical software where he can conveniently track his patient’s file through desktop, iPhone, and iPad. The software is designed to work for all specialties. But this wasn’t completed overnight. While juggling his work as a clinician, lecturer, and anti-dengue advocate, Dr. Mata spent several years of trial and error to perfect his software. When the opportunity came, he submitted his medical App in an international software contest.
In 2008, he clinched the Applet of the Year Award conducted by DDH Software in Los Angeles, California.
He envisions to provide ways to use medical programs that will meet the demands of a modern clinic. The software also aims to help doctors to conveniently accept computerization of prescriptions, and patient files. With this, Dr. Mata knows that it will increase the patient’s safety while giving more convenience for the doctor.
Currently, Dr. Mata’s medical software has 23,000 patients named recorded on it, 60,000 outpatient records and 16,000 admitted records, all of which could be easily retrieved.
His innovation also led him to be an ON3 Startup Contest Regional winner in 2012. His Patient Files App was also awarded 3rd place in the International Mobile Health Contest 2016 held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
It was also hailed as the second best in the first Philippine eHealth Summit Innovation Contest.
Because of all his notable accomplishments as a health advocate and an App inventor, Dr. Mata was awarded as an outstanding alumnus of the Davao Medical School Foundation.
The multi-awarded physician sees success in any field as a continuing journey, no matter what one has accomplished already. His anti-dengue advocacy and other medical and nonmedical undertakings will continue, as he strives to learn more, cultivates his craft more, harnesses his God-given talents more, and contributes more to the betterment of society’s underserved sectors, and the whole nation as well.
“His anti-dengue advocacy and other medical and nonmedical undertakings will continue, as he strives to learn more, cultivates his craft more, harnesses his God-given talents more, and contributes more to the betterment of society’s underserved sectors, and the whole nation as well.”
March 2017 Health and Lifestyle