|Team Report from Dr. Caldwell (from Michigan)
We had 23 great team members, two docs, 8 wonderful nurses, a pharmacist with 5 assistants, a building team of 4, and an orphanage team of 2. MEDICAL MISSION
We saw more patients than ever - over 1500, and filled somewhere between 4000-5000 prescriptions.
We ran clinics in the following locations: La Ceiba at the dump Plan de Flores Limon Clinic (3 days) Icoteas La Fortuna Rio Miel Piedra Blanca ( by the white rock and waterfalls between Tacoa and Limon) Nueva Vida (a refugee town from Hurricane Mitch near San Pedro Sula) Piedra Blanca was at the request of the town Mayor of Limon.
He said there was tremendous need there - indeed there was as we saw over 300 patients in 6 hours - whew! There are a number of other small towns the Mayor is requesting teams consider visiting: La Fortuna Piedra Blanca La Conse El Branche El Lirio Rio Chiquito El Ocote Mira Mar These towns don't get any health care, and are quite neglected - the need was tremendous.
They are all close to Limon, most within 30 minute drive. The Mayor will stay in touch with Douglas about this, and if any other teams are able, they could do a lot of good by going to some of these little pueblos.
The saddest case was a 38 year old woman dying of uterine cancer in Piedra Blanca who had never had any treatment, leaving behind 4 young children. We did give her some money for chemo and radiation to try and prolong her life.
We saw three children with severe heart murmurs needing surgery, and they were referred to cardiologists and surgical teams from the US who come to San Pedro Sula.
We saw lots of diabetes, ran some hemoglobin A1C tests, some of which were 11-13%. We gave out a lot of insulin and other diabetic medication. There is still quite a bit of insulin in the refrigerator, as a drug rep donated 40 bottles of levemir for our trip.
We also gave out a lot of strips and machines. We used Claudia in the lab and found her very helpful.
We did not feel she was overdiagnosing malaria, as has been the case in the past. We deliberately sent her some patients we thought were negative, and she did read their slides as negative.
We also looked at all the slides she read as positive and concurred with her reading.
We are in the process of building the town of Limon public restrooms adjacent to the clinic and community center.
Two years ago we put in a cesspool.
This year we laid the foundation and put in all the plumbing and footings. A contractor will be completing the cement, blocks, roof, fixtures and doors within the next one to two months. It is a much needed facility, as there is no place for many of the townspeople to go to the bathroom when they come to the clinic, also during festivals people have no facilities and it is a mess.
The Mayor and town of Limon contributed the labor of one workman to this project. The restroom will have six toilets, and 2 washbasins, and will be maintained by the town.
The greatest thing about it is - THE TOILETS WILL FLUSH TOILET PAPER! We invited local builders and plumbers to the site, and used local workers and trained and taught them how to properly install the pipes and vent them so that toilet paper will flush. We are hopeful this will start a new trend in Limon.
A number of other people came to watch the building of the toilets, including the town Justice of the Peace, who asked for a small sack of cement to repair a hole in his floor, which we donated. We are excited about this project as WHO states that sanitation facilities save more lives than clean water!
We were fortunate to have a PhD in Spanish Education with us who researched the orphanage and looked into educational opportunities for them. He researched a new private school which was started in Limon, found it much superior to the public schools, and we are in the process of funding all of the orphans in Limon attending that school.
We have a great discount from the school. Currently we have funded 26 of the orphans in the public school, bought all their uniforms and supplies, and are looking for sponsors for the other 17-18 children still in the public school.
The school teaches kindergarten through age 16, and has a computer lab.
It will cost $30 per month for each child to attend school (this includes school supplies and uniforms).
We are still looking for sponsors for the remaining children. The school has also hired a social worker to come and work with some of the children, as a number of them have some psychosocial issues that have not yet been addressed.
We also hope to begin an ongoing partnership between educational professionals in the US and the private school in Limon.
Unfortunately the orphanage itself continues to be in desperate need of the new facilities LHOH is building.
The building owners removed part of the roof, causing rain to destroy much of the supplies of the orphanage and there is a lot of mold.
It is very exciting to see the new LHOH orphanage arising from the ground. We encourage all to raise money and support the building of the orphanage building. There is truly desperate and growing need for this facility.
We are thrilled with our trip, excited about the new LHOH orphanage building, and all the other positive changes in Limon. We felt safe and well cared for the entire trip. We enjoyed staying in La Canadien in La Ceiba (a rustic resort on the Caribbean) and recommend it highly to other groups, it was our first time there and we liked it better than La Quinta.
The public school principal, Sixto Pastor Ovado, in conjunction with Cerlin Castro, who is the Coordinator for the furniture factory in town, asked for donations of portable electrical and manual tools for wood working for the school such as routers, drills, sanders, brackets, etc.
If any teams have any of this they could donate and room to take it down it would be much appreciated. With Gratitude for a safe and productive trip, and best wishes for all the other teams going this year. Dr. Susan Caldwell