As we loaded the bus at 7 a.m., we were all a bit nervous – it was going to be our first day of clinic! We traveled three hours to Santa Rosa De Güinope, a community high in the mountains. Our journey up was a little treacherous at some points – we got stuck in a deep ditch, which we had to fill up with rocks in order to make it across. The road was unpaved with sharp turns, which took careful and precise maneuvering. The three hours of bumpy and winding road got the best of some students as they experienced motion sickness.
Despite the nausea and exhaustion, everyone pulled together and put on an amazing clinic for seven hours. When we arrived, there was already a line of local families eager to seek medical attention. We unloaded all of the gear and medications at the local school. The classrooms featured different aspects of our clinic – triage, health care provider assessments, women’s clinic, dental clinic and a pharmacy. The patients first met with two students to obtain their vitals and describe their medical problems they are seeking treatment for. Next, they met with the appropriate health care providers – children went to our pediatric doctors, women with reproductive health concerns were examined by our OBGYN, and dental concerns were treated at the dental clinic. Then they dropped off their prescriptions at the pharmacy.
As they waited for their medications, they attended charla. “Charla” means “to chat” in Spanish, so this is a place where we “chat” with them about good health. The children went to the kids’ charla where they were given toothbrushes, taught how to brush their teeth properly, and received a fluoride treatment.
A local volunteer ran the adult charla, where he taught them about proper hygiene. When they were done at the charla, the patients returned to the pharmacy to pick up their medications, which were filled by students and reviewed by two pharmacists.
Our first day was very successful in that we saw more than 200 patients! Since it was our first day of clinic, it was a little chaotic. But as the day went on, we developed a good system and worked together as a team. Tomorrow and the next day we will return to this same community.