Sunday, December 14, 2014

Look, Listen and Learn: Super Doctora

A calm bit of road which allowed for a photo
Another early morning and another long ride out to San Pedro Puxtla.  Upon our arrival we were excited to learn that this day was a truck day!  On truck day, the team has access to the government pick-up truck in order to deliver heavy boxes of medications and supplies to remote sites where once per month the team runs a medical clinic.  The ride to this month's remote site was "in the opposite direction of the ECO base, in an area that scares us because the gangs have come there and sometimes threaten the health workers."  It was sad for us to hear that gang activity had come to this remote location and hard to understand what possible economic value gang members could find in terrorizing these incredibly poor farmers.  We bumped along the road without incident, bracing ourselves so that our heads would not hit the ceiling of the cab.  We could not stop laughing because the bumps were incredible!  We asked if the truck had a name, and since it did not, we all agreed to name it Caballo (horse).

Delivery accomplished, we traveled down the same dirt and rock road we had walked the preceding day and arrived at the ECO clinic.  We spent the morning observing all of the operations of the clinic, noting that most of the patients where women who were expecting babies, had recently delivered babies or are raising babies.  Nutrition is a huge issue among these rural families who survive on what they can grow and store.  Many mothers receive powdered milk from a government program.

Dog vaccines are free - provided
by nurses.  The sign below says
"Don't threaten your kids with
vaccinations."
Family Planning Information
The clinic itself does not have electricity, so the refrigerator which the government sent for vaccine storage is still in its box.  The team (doctor, 2 nurses, 3 health promoters and a utility guy who cleans and runs the pharmacy) has to run some fund-raising activities in the town in order to pay for an electrical hook-up.  La Doctora has a great educational style, and the makeshift walls between treatment areas are covered in educational posters.  The government actually requires information to be posted about nutrition, dengue/chik, HIV/STD's, and a variety of vaccines.  There was a very helpful bulletin board about family planning, however, at this clinic like so many others, the medications or devices are not available.  It seemed to us that the government simply cannot keep up with the demand nor the expense, and it reinforced our efforts to at least bring a suitcase full of condoms for the Mission of Healing.

The team treated us to a delicious lunch which was made in the community and brought to the clinic:  carne asada (stewed beef), chirmol (fresh tomato, onion & cilantro), rice and avacado.  We shared a lot of laughter around that table.  Re-energized for the afternoon, we loaded up on water and hopped into the truck for a ride out to a patient who lives quite a distance from the ECO clinic.  The story of our Super Health Promoters on that afternoon is recorded in another Blog Post.

At the end of our day, we made the long drive back to San Salvador, stopping for about an hour at La Doctora's house, where we were served delicious homemade pie and hot chocolate.  It was a huge honor for us to share in our friend's work, her friendships, her family, and her struggles.  We have often marveled at the stories she told about her work and the sacrifices she makes in order to have a job.  Now, having walked alongside her for a few days in her own work setting, we are even more convinced that she, like so many healthcare providers in El Salvador, is a Super Doctora!

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful! Feliz Navidad, mi hermana.

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  2. I can't wait to read your post about coming through Customs with your suitcase full of condoms!!!! That should be VERY interesting!!!! Kay

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