We at Community Health Partnership-Honduras brought our first fall team to Opatoro, Honduras during the first week of November, working in the Clinic de Salud in La Florida to serve the 17 villages throughout the southern region of Opatoro. This year, at the request of Opatoro’s mayor, we expanded our efforts to include the 18 villages in the northern region and treated almost 1,000 patients—both in the medical clinic and through 20 home visits—in a nation where the need for dental intervention is severe.
Our team—which consisted of registered nurses, physicians, honeymooning couples, a 14-year-old girl who collected and donated about 500 pairs of glasses to the local population, and more—was nearly half Honduran. In addition to the patients treated at the medical clinic, we worked with three Honduran dentists who volunteered with us. Together they saw 137 patients in the clinic, performing extractions, restorations, and providing a number of sealants and cleanings. The fluoride program we initiated three years ago continues to grow, and we visited a number of schools where we teach oral hygiene and administered fluoride to almost 1,000 students.
And we continue to look for ways to treat the myriad medical issues Opatoro’s population faces—including gastrointestinal problems,
musculoskeletal complaints, eye disease, and maternal health concerns—as well as provide local health volunteers with first aid supplies and education on proper nutrition and exercise so they can help to improve and sustain the health of their own communities.
In addition to our local efforts, we have also been working extensively with two patients in particular: Cheyli, who was born with an incomplete spina bifida and two club feet, and Porfirio, a 27-year-old father of seven who was paralyzed from the waist down seven years ago after being struck by a car.
We met Cheyli last year when she was nine, and have been able to arrange for surgery on her feet. Six months later, she was able to take her first steps with the help of a walker. We also hope that her spina bifida can be repaired in the future. Meanwhile, CHPH arranged for an in-home tutor and we have supplied her with books and school uniform as well. We have been thrilled with Cheyli’s ability to overcome whatever challenges she faces.
We met Porfirio two years ago when he was suffering from very deep bed sores and severe malnutrition. Together with the clinic nurse and a fund our team established, we have worked to improve his quality of life. The nurse brings nutritional supplements and healthy food to Porfirio each month, along with the necessary urinary catheters and medicine for his improving sores. As Porfirio’s health has improved, he is back to work, having learned to repair shoes and cut hair.
CHPH is extremely grateful to the Henry Schein Cares Foundation for the generous donations of critical supplies and medicines, without which we could not do this work, and we look forward to expanding our efforts to work with the Honduran people to improve the quality of life and build a better future for all Hondurans.