Finding our groove Now that we are a little more known and trusted at the clinics, this week has been full of new experiences and perspectives. At Pilcomayo, Maddie, Jada and Nicole have been with several different doctors all week, so they have seen quite a bit. Nicole, who is with 2 obstetricians named Milagros and Mariela, has started to take blood pressures, find baby’s heartbeats, and identify what position a baby might be in. Some of the advice she has heard has been an interesting look into healthcare here. One that stood out to her is that the obstetricians regularly
advise parents that they cannot bring yellow clothes to the hospital for their newborn so that they prevent confusion about whether the baby has jaundice. Jada and Maddie have been with a few different doctors this week. They have helped them triage a patient struggling with depression that was thought to have been suffering from diabetic symptoms. Jada also saw a new facet of the lack of resources in many of the clinics. A parent brought her child in with severe stomach pain, which the doctor thought could be appendicitis. Ideally, an ambulance would have taken him straight to a hospital, but because the clinic has no ambulance, his mother would have had to drive. At the clinic, they were worried about her compliance, but there was not a lot that could be done to make sure that she followed through. Another unique look into healthcare has come from our volunteers at Huari. Alyssa and Cynthia have been out and about this week, on both home and school visits. As Huari is a pretty rural area, they do quite a bit of walking around on home visits, which were mainly to give vaccinations to children who had not come in for their scheduled shots. These can be frustrating. Many of the patients were either not home or parents would not allow their children to be vaccinated because of fear or misunderstanding about how
vaccines work and what they do. Still, parents and healthcare professionals here are often involved in community health efforts and ensuring that children are at their healthiest given the resources available. At the school visit, Cynthia and Alyssa participated in a nutrition seminar, where many parents brought in ingredients-bananas, potatoes, chicken, tuna, and plenty more. After a demonstration on proper hand hygiene, they gave a seminar on the three elements that each child should get from their food: fuerza (strength, which come from rice, beans, etc.), constructores (builders, which come from proteins), and proteccion (protection, which kids get from vegetables
make example meals and shared them with the kids. This was a really awesome example of community health education in action, and for Alyssa, a great example of pediatric nutrition, which she hopes to focus on. Jack, Maddie, and I have been continuing the anti-parasite campaign at the school in Huari. We have finally made it around to all the grades, and will soon be distributing medicine to the kids, hopefully before the fiestas patrias (a sort of independence day celebration lasting several days) begin and students have a two-week vacation. In the afternoons, we’ve been to artisan markets, a sauna, Parque de la Identidad (a beautiful park that displays elements of Peruvian culture in statues, mosaics, flowers, and an impressive walking path), and of course to plenty of bakeries. To top it off, the girls are going to start a dance class today. I even had the chance to connect with the doctor I spent time with last year, and later today Jack will be introducing our volunteers to several friends who live here. The Healthyouth experience so far has given each of us new perspectives on Peru, traveling, global, community, and rural medicine, and hopefully will continue to form these lasting relationships.