February 23, 2017 3:55 pm

Bringing Doctors to the Patients

Written by Rosali Vela

When running mobile clinics, MEDLIFE aims to provide people from low income communities with primary health care. Cost is a problem in access to health care, but just as important an issue is actually getting into the hospital.

It’s estimated there is 1 doctor for every 20,000 people living on the outskirts of Lima. The time that patients spend with a doctor is a rare moment to talk with a health professional. To give the best possible care to patients MEDLIFE uses doctors and dentists from Lima to staff mobile clinics.

Analida Palacios works as a physician at Clinica Oncologia y Radioterapia, located in the San Borja district of Lima. Her usual place of work is located in a wealthier district of Lima, where patients can afford to be treated in a private clinic and forgo the long waits for service.

IMG 0289Analida in the San Juan de Miraflores district of Lima.

She first heard of MEDLIFE through a co-worker who was working with the group. After hearing about the concept of the mobile clinics, she decided to join herself to provide basic healthcare and consultation to the people in low income areas of Lima.

“We bring medicine, we bring prevention with pap smears and breast exams,” Palacios said. “I think the population will be more prepared.”

Just sitting down and being able to talk to a doctor can be an invaluable experience for those who have little to no access to healthcare. It is not uncommon for doctors working clinics to meet with patients with health problems ranging from diabetes and breast cancer that have gone untreated for years.

Although, Palacios is not following up with the patient's herself, she is the first contact they have with MEDLIFE and sometimes, any health care at all. In the private clinic where she works across the city, Palacios is able to use ultrasounds and labtests to diagnose and treat patients.  As MEDLIFE is travelling to different communities it is up to the doctors working the clinic to determine if a patient needs further attention, through conversations and basic health checkups.

“You can do the basic stuff, but you can also speak with the patient and the family,” Palacios said.

IMG 0155When travelling to communities, Analida Palacios determines which patients need to go on to seek additional care from hospitals or clinics with MEDLIFE's assistance.

Palacios says she looks for signs that would point to a diagnosis while taking in what the patients tell her about their symptoms and lifestyle. If a patient needs further attention, they are admitted to the follow-up program, where a nurse working full time with MEDLIFE will accompany them to hospital and clinic visits to get the care they need.

“If we don’t come here with this type of medicine, nobody will,” Palacios said.

January 17, 2017 11:10 am

Clinic highlights from Lima

Written by Rosali Vela

The past week, MEDLIFE Volunteers and medical professionals from Peru visited neighborhoods around Lima for mobile clinics. Students from Boston College, Claremont College, Mount Saint Mary College, Cornell, Wisconsin, UC Berkley, Modesto Junior College, California State University Long Beach, Iowa, Temple, San Francisco State University, Pomona College, University of Connecticut, University of Maryland at College Park and University of Massachusetts at Amherst participated. Over the week, MEDLIFE Mobile clinics were able to serve over 800 aldults and over 700 children. These photos are from various areas around Lima and highlight some of the services MEDLIFE provides during mobile clinics.

IMG 7769Mobile clinics adapt to the unique setting and needs of each neighborhood, utilizing tents, community spaces and even homes, to provide care. 

IMG 7822Over 1500 patients passed through MEDLIFE´s mobile clinics over a 5 day period. 

IMG 8287The education station gives information on prevention methods for common health problems in Lima. Women´s health is part of the focus of the education program and over 250 women were able to consult with an obstrotrician during the week.

IMG 8313After talking to a doctor, patients pick up any necessary medication from the pharmacy. About 1400 patients recieved medication pescribed by a doctor working the clinic.

IMG 8353Patients receive one on one conversations and checkups with local doctors while volunteers aid and learn from the professionals. After this week, MEDLIFE nurses will continue to visit with 83 patients who are a part of the follow up program.

IMG 8380Children have a station set up for toothbrushing techniques and fluoride application. Over 1,100 children brushed their teeth and received a free toothbrush.

IMG 7978Over 200 patients were able to receive dental care throughout the clinic. About half of the patients were children.

January 3, 2017 4:31 pm

A Christmas Chocolatada in Lima

Written by Rosali Vela

Last week, MEDLIFE, helped to host a Chocolatada at the Señor de Muruhuay School in Lima. A Cholotada is traditional Christmas celebration, popular in Peru, where a Hot Cocoa-like drink is passed around with Panetton bread. Through donations, MEDLIFE was also able to give all the Children in the class a present as well.

IMG 4847 copyA clown visited the children to sing and dance to Christmas music.

IMG 4895 copyPanetton bread is prepared for the Chocolatada.

IMG 4898 copyDon't tell the kids! Yanet played the role of Papá Noel.

IMG 4923 copyKids were excited to meet Papá Noel.

IMG 5059 copyThe volunteers had almost as much fun as the children!

IMG 5154 copyThanks to donations, volunteers were able to deliver gifts to the children at Señor de Muruhuay School

IMG 5211 copyMEDLIFE's own, Raul, delivers a gift for the celebration.

 

August 29, 2016 2:44 pm

2015-16 School Year Mobile Clinic Recap

Written by Jake Kincaid

MEDLIFE finished the last of the 2015-2016 school year with the last summer clinics this August! It was an amazing year, and with the help of our chapters we were able to hold more mobile clinics and see more patients than ever before! Here is a quick recap of what we were able to accomplish in our mobile clinics this year. A huge thanks to everyone who got involved and made all of these clinics possible!

22,771 Volunteers traveled to our destinations around the world to work in MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics.

 

4Our dentists saw 5,510 patients.

 

6Our doctors saw 30,126 patients in general medicine.

 

7Our volunteers taught 18,805 kids how to brush their teeth and left them with their own toothbrush!

8In clinic our OBGYN gave 2,246 PAP smears and 4560 breast exams.

9Our Mobile Clinics saw 61,247 total attentions. 

 10

In 2002, optometrist Dr. Sammy Rose and engineer Holland Kendall designed and created an optical set-up which could analyse a person's vision.  The machine works with a computer programme to select the glasses prescription which best matches the person's eyesight.  This machine, worth $17,000, enabled the two men to start setting up optometry stations at medical clinics all over the world.  

In 2005, the machine was taken on a trip to Honduras.  The trip was part of Dr. Rose's missionary work to help teach impoverished communities and give them the medical attention they desperately needed.  It was one of many trips that Dr. Rose had embarked upon to enable his optical set-up to help benefit those with poor eyesight who otherwise would not get treated.  It was however the first trip taken by Dr. Rose's son, Samuel.  Aged just 11 at the time, he was keen to get involved with his father's work.  This was also the trip that sparked Samuel's interest in the work that would eventually lead to him bringing the first optometry station to a MEDLIFE mobile clinic.   

IMG 6935

Samuel Rose, now a biology major at The University of Mississippi, went to Honduras on nine occasions during high school; helping his father and learning about optometry and missionary work for himself.  Samuel told us how important these trips were in shaping his future, explaining how “I developed a passion for mission work and helping people in poor areas.”  

However, Samuel also told us how when he started at college, he could no longer devote so much of his time to this work.  “I did not have time to go on mission trips and couldn't afford to miss so much class”, Samuel explained.  However, he was still keen to continue helping his father and using the optical machine to bring glasses to those in need.  Therefore, when a friend came back from a MEDLIFE trip just before Samuel was about to begin his junior year at college, he was excited to hear about what MEDLIFE had to offer and how he could get involved.  

Soon after starting his third year of college, Samuel signed up for his first MEDLIFE trip to Lima and he hasn't looked back since.  “Once I returned home I was quick to try to get involved [with MEDLIFE],” he said. “I was so happy to have found something to fill that absence I had had for so long.”  Samuel was soon asked to become president for the MEDLIFE chapter at his school and in this capacity got to work planning to bring his father's machine to set up an optical station at a MEDLIFE mobile clinic.  On his first phone call with MEDLIFE Volunteer Coordinator Kristine Paiste, he explained how he wanted to be able to set up this station.  MEDLIFE then started working to collaborate with Samuel and his chapter to make this happen.  

IMG 6957

“I've seen just how much glasses can change a person's life and I knew that I was capable of making this happen for MEDLIFE. Our chapter is young,” he said. “It was started in 2013 and I wanted to make a difference as the new president to show that leaps could be made even by a young chapter.”  Samuel set about contacting Holland Kendall, the engineer who had helped create the optical set-up.  They ran through the details of the machine and how to work it so that Samuel would be able to operate it on his own in Lima.  Samuel received a donation of 1000 pairs of glasses for the optometry station.   He measured each pair manually and then entered the data into his father's machine, corresponding each one with a number that matched the prescription.  He then spent $400 flying the machine and glasses out to Peru last week to be set up and used on the MEDLIFE clinic.  

Thanks to Samuel, we were able to have an optometry station present at 5 clinics last week alongside the usual dental, medical and OB stations.  With the help of an optometrist, Samuel was able to treat 257 patients across the week who had come from all over Lima's impoverished communities after hearing about this special clinic.  It was amazing to see these people being given their sight back.  There was a huge amount of gratitude from all who received glasses for MEDLIFE and Samuel's work.  “In this community people don't have glasses because they cost and we can't pay but now thanks to you they are free.  You have given us all back our sight” one man told us after being prescribed a pair of glasses by Samuel.  Another family were all given glasses and explained how much it would help them; “we are so happy and grateful to you all, this will make such a difference in our lives”.  

IMG 6873

When Samuel was explaining his work, he referenced back to the Gandhi quote that appears on the back of MEDLIFE t-shirts: “be the change you wish to see in the world”.  He told us how important this quote was to him and explained how it had been part of his motivation to get the optometry station to a MEDLIFE clinic.  “I know I can't change the whole world but I can change the way people see it.  Now 257 people see it differently. I did this because I was blessed with the opportunity to make someone's life better, I did this because I felt like God wanted me to be that change Gandhi talked about.”  Samuel also explained to us that these new glasses would not just affect these people's sight, but that he hoped it would be able to continue to make an impact in their lives long term.  Children will be able to get a better education as they will not be hindered by being unable to see what they are supposed to be reading or learning.  Adults will be able to do their jobs better without having to worry that their sight is letting them down.  Even MEDLIFE staff benefited from the clinic with some of our medical professionals visiting the station at the end of the day and receiving glasses they have been in need of for a long time.  

IMG 6958

Without Samuel's support and initiative, MEDLIFE would never have been able to get this station off the ground.  It was amazing to be able to bring optometry to our clinics and we hope it is something we will be able to expand upon in the future.  Samuel finished by telling us that he hopes for the same thing;“I hope it improves the quality of life that these wonderful people have because it's what they deserve. I'm honored that I was able to help make this happen with MEDLIFE and I hope I can figure out a way to provide this station on trips after I am gone.”  Seeing this kind of support from chapter members is hugely important for MEDLIFE and we hope that this collaboration and many others will continue into the future as MEDLIFE continues to expand.  

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