Nicaragua Stony Brook Physician Assistant Program Mission 2015

Our group was based in Chacraseca, Nicaragua but we ended up serving multiple communities in the area of Leon, Nicaragua. This was due to the fact that the clinic in Chacraseca had recently received help and supplies from another medical mission group, and other clinics were in more desperate need of aid. On Monday we drove about an hour to a small community clinic in the town of Puerto Sandino, where we saw 54 patients and provided medications we possessed or recommended ones we did not have in stock.  Many of the patients had hypertension so new reliable blood pressure cuffs were invaluable in checking BP’s. The clinic was very poorly supplied and it was very valuable having both large adult sizes as well as small adult and pediatric cuff sizes to allow us to obtain accurate blood pressures. Other common problems we came across were upper respiratory infections, where the otoscopes were also invaluable as we encountered many ear infections as well as some cases of strep throat. Many of the patients were diabetics and the physician and PA’s who traveled with us used the ophthalmoscopes to check for diabetic changes occurring in the retina and taught us what we should be looking for. Unfortunately access to medications and health care is very limited in Nicaragua so we were limited in what we were able to do for patients suffering many complications from chronic problems such as diabetes.  We tried our best to educate these patients about their various diseases and what they could do to improve their health. Our second day we traveled to a community church in La Gloria outside of Puerto Sandino where we saw another 50 patients with similar health ailments. On Wednesday we returned to the clinic in Puerto Sandino and saw another 40 patients. On Thursday we traveled even further to another community church in Miramar to provide healthcare to a population of patients who had very limited access to healthcare, where we saw 66 patients, again with ailments similar to previous days such as diabetes, hypertension, URI’s and UTI’s. Many of the patients we saw were malnourished so we provided adult or pediatric multivitamins to most patients we evaluated. On our last day we traveled to another community clinic outside of Leon in La Leona, where we evaluated 78 patients, many of whom were pediatric patients as the clinic was located very close to a local school.  Neither of the health clinics we visited had functioning thermometers so the thermometer you provided was extremely helpful as we were able to accurately determine whether our patients were febrile, as most people felt warm and diaphoretic in the 95-100 degree heat. The clinic we worked out of in Puerto Sandino on Monday and Wednesday was the most poorly supplied, so that is where we donated the medications, otoscope/Opthalmoscope, and other suppliest. On Friday morning we were able to go to a school near the clinic and worked with a local dentist to  teach kids about dental hygiene. They were so excited. A toothbrush makes a huge difference for them and having dental floss and toothpaste was an irreplaceable gift to them. All of the supplies provided were invaluable in providing medical care to communities around Leon, Nicaragua, and will continue to aid health care workers in providing much needed health care to the underserved population of Nicaragua.