with Joel & Terri
The time spent waiting during a clinic is not wasted. Patients may arrive before the 9am start time and stay through the end at 5pm or later. During this waiting time educational seminars are held to help educate on non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease. In 2020 women will be taught self breast exams and Days for Girls menstruation kits will be handed out. The Days for Girls kits will be offered with additional education of the female reproductive system and their monthly cycles.
Medical projects begin with patient screenings to asses anyone that has needs. First, patients are referred to the local national government healthcare system if something appears urgent or risky. Healthcare is available and free for those who can reach the centers for care. Local village clinics are easy to reach for most, however, the care is based more on preventative care. Anyone requiring advanced/curative care needs to be treated at one of the larger hospitals. These hospitals can be hard to reach and the transport is costly. Many will go without the care until conditions are untreatable.
Treatment and continual follow-up for Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate (CLCP) patients is an ongoing project. Offering financial assistance for travel, supplying specialty bottles and feeding equipment, offering education and emotional support through the potentially 18 year treatment process is vital for families with CLCP families. CLCP treatment is life changing for all involved!
In an effort to be a sustainable mission, clinics are mostly run by local national volunteers. Patients are notified and recruited by volunteers or past patients from the villages. Clinics are scheduled and organized by Terri but she has worked with up to 7 local volunteers at their clinics.
One obstacle that needs to be addressed is the lack of education available to a patient regarding their diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Healthcare is riddled with fear. Fear of the unknown! With such a high patient doctor ratio, details can be quickly brushed over with the understandable intention of seeing as many patients as possible within the day.
One focus for the mission is to educate and empower patients so they can make knowledgable decisions regarding their own care and treatments. Then in turn hopefully reduce the paralyzing fear most experience.
Even though healthcare is available and free, even when you make it to the hospital, the doctor/patient ratio is high. Four years ago there were only 200 doctors in the whole country and only a small percentage were surgeons. That is for a population of 850,000. That was 1 doctor for 4,250 people!! Now it is closer to 1/2125 with about 400 doctors now licensed to practice. Keep in mind this creates an issue where half of the doctors are just out of medical school!!