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Many of the areas in which we work have little to no healthcare systems in place. For places that do have medical technicians, nurses, or a practicing physician, our goal is to work with local healthcare workers and expand training in the areas in which they are weak or have interest.
Where appropriate, we may also help obtain focused donations for more sustainable items and long term equipment.
For areas that have no healthcare providers, we have developed a training program to train rural health workers to provide a basic level of healthcare to their communities.
This training focuses on basic public health practices, the use of basic generic medicines available to them, and teaching a handful of basic and life-saving procedures. These procedures include: neo-natal resuscitation, oral rehydration therapy, IV rehydration, fracture splinting, suturing, and abscess incision and drainage.
In areas where we train rural health workers, we typically spend the mornings doing in-class trainings and practicum. In the afternoons we generally hold clinics for the locals, in which the rural health workers assume the role of the healthcare providers with our medical providers coaching them through basic patient care.
This process allows the locals to gain confidence in their local health workers. We have been successful in helping to establish community pharmacies in three rural villages. These pharmacies are managed through a cooperative effort between the rural health worker and village health committee in each village.
We do not believe in merely arriving, setting up a clinic, treating patients, and then leaving. Such practices create dependence on outside resources and can cripple communities. We believe in empowering local healthcare workers in treating their own communities.
For expeditions, individuals with specialized medical skills are needed to help with training and patient care. Also needed are individuals designated for crowd control, runners to relay messages and locate supplies as well as individuals to photograph procedures.
This child was brought to the clinic with severe malnutrition due her mother’s limited means and lack of nutritional education. The mother was producing very little milk, which was surely deficient in protein and nutrients, as a result of only consuming a few corn tortillas and a small amount of water each day. The child was slowly starving to death.
ONE YEAR LATER
One year later, this same child is healthy and thriving as a result of a combination of medical intervention, rallying community resources and nutritional education. While a wet nurse was arranged for her, the mother was diligent in improving her diet and in taking the necessary vitamins until she could nurse the child on her own. During the expedition, the mother proudly brought her little girl to the clinic to show how well she was doing. (Cute little ‘pot belly’ displayed.)