California - USA
Thank you very much for your great help you have provided to our patients.
Thank you very much for your help you have provided to our patients
Not a day goes by without at least one patient at the Clinica Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe expressing their thanks for the services offered. What makes the clinic unique is the quality of care, accessability of medications and the affordability of the clinic for everyone. The clinic's current director, Father George Nigsch, founded the clinic in the Southern part of the country in the Amazon region where medical care is scarce. The patients often travel half the night to attend the clinic or come the day before and sleep outside the clinic doors. The population in this region is pridominately Indigenous and the people are mainly subsistent farmers. The predominately offers medical consults, dental care, lab tests, medicines, surgeries, vision testing, eyeglasses, dentures and outreach programs.
On a daily basis the clinic is open for medical and dental care. The doctors see anywhere from 30 to 100 patients a day. Thanks to the year long efforts of the CMMB sponsored volunteer Beena Kamath the clinic now has many patients with chronic diseases receiving regular checkups and long term treatments. An Ecuadorian woman from Guadalupe does eye testing and provides needed glasses thanks to the generosity of the donations of eyeglasses from the Lion's Club. Dentures are also repaired and manufactured at a simple dental lab the clinic sponsors. Most of the population has lost various teeth by the age of 20 and have full dentures before 40 years of age due to poor dental hygiene. The dentists and local educators have started dental care education in the schools and communites.
In the three years that I have been working at the clinic I have had the privilege to met many generous volunteers.All of the medical and dental staff are volunteers. Beena Kamath, a pediatrician from Denver Colorado, and I have both been supported by CMMB. Many other volunteers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Holland, Ireland, Canada and the USA have all spent various amounts of time working at the clinic or in the outreach programs. There is so much to learn from so many different cultures and experiences.
During the year there are several groups of surgeons who come to offer very economical surgeries for people who would otherwise not be able to afford a surgery. The ophthalmogists visit twice a year offering 75 to 150 consults a day and performing about 50 cataract and tyrigium surgeries. The ENT surgeon has performed over 80 operations primarily post-trauma nasal deviations. We were fortunate to have the ENT surgeon present when a local man was injured when a tree he was cutting down fell on him. The surgeon was able to operate on him the following day when he arrived at the clinic. Without the clinic he would have remained at home with a crushed nose and lacerated forehead and no means to adequate medical care. The general surgeon was able to do many hernia repairs as the work in the fields starting at such an early age causes many such injuries.
The clinic also helps sponsor two Medical Brigades twice a year. Nurses, Nurse Practioners, Dentists and Physicians participate in the two week events. The clinic helps transport the medication, supplies and personnel to distant mining camps or other isolated communities for consults and treatment. It is not uncommon to discover people who have never been seen by a doctor before. One 34 year old man had frequent Epileptic seizures since childhood and had never received medical care or medication. The medical brigades offer consults, screening and medication to between 1200 to 1300 patients during the 10 day trip.
I have seen so many people helped by the services offered at the clinic. One elderly man had been almost totally blinded by bilateral cataracts that he had suffered with for over 15 years. His grandson brought him to the clinic leading him by the hand. Two weeks later, after the successful surgery, the same man was able to return walking on his own without even the need of a cane. Another 46 year old man came to the clinic with severe bilateral hearing loss. After two surgeries he cried as he told us that he had heard the church bells ring for the first time in twenty years. These and so many other people helped in some way make me very thankful to be able to be a part of the work at the Clinica Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe due to the ongoing sponsorship I receive from CMMB.
We had a group of 5 come from the USA to help us out during the Jornada and one doctor from the clinic came along. The ten of us (5 doctors, two nurses, two translators and a farmacy helper) left for an isolated mining town in the mountains. It was like an old time gold boom town from the old west. No plumbing, simple wooden shacks hastily thrown up in a hap-hazard arrangement. There used to be almost daily deaths in the mines from exlpotions going off premature or cave-ins. Now the young men make between $9 and $14 a day by carrying out on their backs 2000 pounds of wet rocks. 90% of the patients had lower back pain with good reason. It was a twenty minute climb up the steep hillside just to get to the meals. What a place. From there we went to a larger town and saw lots of people. The people had lots less depression in this second town. The third town was a small isolated community that has one bus each Sunday that arrives there. It was a really fantastic experience. The people divided into groups and supplied our meals. They were so generous with us and after the four meals they refused to accept any money! They even opened up a house for us to sleep in. The people were so generous and helpful There was no impatience or pushing in this wonderful community! Then we went to a community on the other side of a river where we floated across on a barge that is on a cable and uses the water flow to go from side to side of the river. From there we headed off to a completely different area and visited a Saraguro Indian community. The school we worked in had lots of projects going on for the students. They had honey production, fish ponds and lots of manual crafts being taught. It was nice to see so much extra learning available for the students. While we were there a young calf was brought in draped over the back of a horse. It had been killed by a swarm of bees biting it. They were going to scrape it clean then stuff it for the school. Interesting. The doctors noticed how different the Indigenous population was. They seemed to the doctors much more stoic and slower to understand instructions but were very greatful for our help and presence. It turns out that there had been a recent Jornada there before that charged very excessively for the medicine so the people were hesitant to accept our help at first. From there we went to a larger town and saw about 130 people. Then in the afternoon we packed up and were brought to a large town to find at least 100 people waiting for us at 4pm. We ended up seeing over 80 people that night. We were then taken to a hotel for a great night`s rest. It was the second night I had seen a bed during the whole trip. I slept very, very well! At most of the places the people would bring us blankets to put on the floor to sleep on. The last day we were in a very large town and had over 230 people seen before the group had to leave for Quito at 3pm. We sent some people away without being seen there were so many that came that last day. In all we saw over 1500 people and had such generous people helping us in all the towns. We were very well received in all of the places we visited and I believe we helped so many people. It was a great experience for all of us and a great priveledge to meet so many different people and see so many different towns.