The Gift of Health program is a part of Humanity First’s broader vision to reach out and provide health care in remote villages, where in addition to other basic life necessities, individuals are deprived of preventive and medical needs. The goal of the March 1-9, 2014 Humanity First Gift of Health trip was to provide primary health care services to the people in and surrounding the city of Alotenango, Guatemala.
During the five-day clinic, Humanity First volunteers from the United States and Guatemala treated common ailments seen in the general medicine and pediatric clinics, as well as provided basic dental care to the community. Simultaneously, this Gift of Health program aimed to teach Humanity First student volunteers about health disparities in Guatemala and what type of work may be done to aid communities in poverty.
The clinic provided access to health care to the community through the provision of free medical services, medicine and supplies, and also aimed to provide more long-term aid with fluoride varnish treatments and the distribution of hygiene packs which contained various personal items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps, and shampoo.
The majority of health concerns were related to inadequate access to resources (clean water and food), poor work environments (many patients with asthma and allergies worked in factories which aggravated their conditions), and an unhealthy home environment (smoking, poor diet, poor hygiene). Patients whose ailments were too severe to treat were sent to a nearby hospital and had their treatments covered for by Humanity First. There was a child with severely enlarged lymph nodes; one man had severely infected lesions across his legs and was battling diabetes.
Within five days the team treated a total of 3,064 patients. In general medicine clinics, 1762 patients were seen; in pediatrics, 1262 patients were seen. In the dental clinic, 160 patients received dental treatment.