Saturday, April 18, 2015

Medical Clinic in Nicaragua

Two weeks ago while in Nicaragua we participated in a volunteer based medical clinic run by the Vida organization. The day before we were to start working, we had an orientation day in which we learned how to take vital signs and reviewed diseases and illnesses we would most likely see. The first day of the clinic was in a very small, rural town by the name of Papayal. Our clinic environment was a small community room. We set up five circles of plastic chairs, each circle included two or three of us: one person to scribe, another to interview, and another to take vital signs. Each circle also had a translator who translated anything we said in English into Spanish for the patient and vice versa. Each circle would work with one patient or family at a time and two doctors rotated through our groups to make the final diagnosis and subscribe any needed medications for patients as well as educate them about their illness or disease. We appreciated the doctors because before making a prognosis they would as us what we thought and why. This was a great learning experience for us.

It was very obvious that Papayal was a very poor neighborhood. Many of the mothers with small children were still in their teens. The first case my group saw was an 18 year old mother with two toddlers. After doing the extensive medical history questionnaire we asked her why she came to the clinic and she told us she just wanted some vitamins for her and her children. Many of the children were prescribed vitamins. In another case, a mother brought in her 12 year old daughter and 4 year old son. Both children had had recurring diarrhea and lack of appetite. The doctor concurred that they both were infected with Giardia, a parasite. In these communites most children take a de-worming medicine every six months. The clinics were very successful and we were able to treat all persons who came seeking medical attention. It was an extremely rewarding experience and because of it I absolutely plan on volunteering in a medical environment in the future.

This experience has been one of my favorites so far this semester. It solidified my desire to become a doctor. It was a great feeling to be part of a team of individuals providing healthcare to people that otherwise wouldn't have it. In addition, I felt very appreciated for my efforts and enjoyed being able to talk to patients about day to day life while we were waiting for the doctor. I hope for another experience like this soon in life. `

Hailey Alexander

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