In regions of Honduras with high rates of poverty, nonprofit groups like Alabama Honduras Medical Education Network (AHMEN) not only provide relief, but also are partners in working with the Honduran people to build better outcomes for the future.
With a focus on medical relief and educational development, AHMEN has been making a difference in Honduras since 1998.
In this blog, hear from Jennifer Smith, a pharmacist who joined with AHMEN, students and faculty from Rudy School of Nursing & Health Professions at Cumberland University, and Honduran dental and medical professionals to provide much-needed health care in Honduras.
In March of 2017, a team of nurses, nursing students, a pharmacist, and a chaplain teamed up with the Alabama Honduras Medical Education Network (AHMEN) and traveled to La Ceiba, Honduras.
Together, we provided medical care for children and adults with little or no access to basic health care.
We partnered with a local physician from Fundación Margie and dentists from Fundación Buckner. We set up clinics in a church or school in 3 different locations around La Ceiba.
Over 3 days, we saw over 725 patients.
We conducted blood pressure and glucose screenings, and diagnosed and dispensed medications for many health concerns, including chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. We also provided de-worming medication where needed, and preventive care for adults and children through vitamin supplements, dietary advice, and lifestyle recommendations.
With the addition of the local volunteer dentists on the team, we could also provide basic dental services such as tooth extraction, cleaning, fluoride treatments, provision of adult and child dental kits (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss), and education on dental health.
It is a wonderful experience to work alongside local practitioners who are also volunteering their time.
I always learn something new, whether it’s an unfamiliar disease state or medication, or just finding an appropriate alternative when we don’t have exactly the right medication.
This is especially fun when we have students on the team and they’re able to experience being part of such a unique interprofessional work environment.
Over the course of the week, we also visited a local nursing home and provided some basic care for the residents there. Additionally, to better understand the health care system in Honduras, we toured a local hospital’s pediatric, labor & delivery, and neonatal ICU areas.
I have been fortunate to be able to return to Honduras several times to work with a medical team and I hope to continue in the future.
As a pharmacist, the clinic days are often long and exhausting. In the midst of the craziness, it’s easy to get wrapped up in packaging meds and writing labels. But whether it’s a heartfelt thanks from a young mother that received vitamins for her children, or an adult with diabetes who now has enough medication to get through a few more months, I’m always reminded of why we’re there when talking to the patients.
Our team would like to sincerely thank the Henry Schein Cares Foundation for the generous donation of supplies for this trip and helping us to improve health care for the people of Honduras.