From May 22-29, 10 members from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), St. Francis of Assisi in Derwood, and Health and Education for Haiti, Inc., joined together to support a medical mission to Leon, Haiti. Our team consisted of: two pharmacists/professors from the UMES School of Pharmacy, along with one staff member and one alumni, three student pharmacists and one physical therapy student from UMES and one pre-med student and one psychology major who recently graduated from Salisbury University. The team was led by Dr. Frank Nice, a retired captain of United States Public Health Service who has served at NIH and FDA. He has been involved in medical missions in Haiti for 19 years, along with Mrs. Pat Labuda, who has also been making medical trips to Haiti for 25 years. We were joined by two local physicians and nurses in Haiti to help us triage and diagnose pediatric patients.
We managed to triage almost 1,000 primary school students during our time there. The first site was at College Coeur de Jesus where we screened 540 students and treated 147 patients. The second site was at College Le Bon Pasteur de Leon where we screened 456 students and treated 65 patients. From both schools, we could conclude that fungal infections, specifically Tinea capitis, was the most common condition we identified. We also had the opportunity to see two disabled patients in wheelchairs and one patient on crutches. Our physical therapy student was able to teach them how to strengthen their muscle and a set of range of motion to help them to gradually regain the functionality of their legs.
We delivered two different oral presentations in Haiti; one on hand/dental hygiene and one on herbal medications. Hand and dental hygiene presentations were given at orphanages and schools in Leon, while herbal medication presentations were delivered to nursing students in Jeremie.
Haiti was indeed a poor country, but the elephant ear-sized leaves spreading along the road and the countless stars on clear night skies reflects the country’s beauty. The students not only accomplished to provide patient care and education, but were also able to learn about future opportunities in global health in the pharmacy profession.
Details of the mission activities were promoted through presentations and a newspaper article at UMES. We would like to thank the donors from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation. Without your help, this mission would not have been possible. Thank you for your support.