Health Outreach

VOLUNTEERING

Quesada 2013

Our fruitful mission began on an early cold Saturday morning in Toronto.  After one transfer in San Salvador, we touch-downed  in Guatemala City.   Wearily the team headed to the hotel, but our energy and enthusiasm grew as we spoke with the Team 1 members from Monterrico.  Yes, the purpose of our week was defined clearly by the success of the previous week.

Sunday is travel day to the rural town of Quesada.  We arrived to a familiar little unit that was our clinic for the previous two years.  Set-up followed as the veteran volunteers Drs. Tim Lee, Pravir Patel, and Ms. Jan Zalewski, Ms. Yvonne Joseph,  Ms. Lucie Nadeau and Ms. Karissa King led the assembly of the equipment.  The first time volunteers- Drs. Stephen Mathews, Mark Baluschak, and Mr. Pablo Gargallo, helped valiantly to quickly finish our conversion of the medical office into a 5 operatory dental  clinic, in addition to the front waiting area where the diagnosis and triage was done.  We then travelled to nearby Quesada to our familiar digs in our modest hotel that we called home for the next 5 days. 

The first day of the clinic brought some nervous energy to the whole team.  The compressor started fine, and by in-large, everything mechanically worked, except for one unit that seemed to need a bit of warm-up before getting to full speed.  All the Spanish studying was put to the test when we started seeing the children, sometimes with one of their accompanying parents.  The main translator, Pablo, filled in all the blanks that we as the diagnosticians may have had when hearing their chief complaints.  In the interest of saving time, for those who require fillings or extractions, the triage dentist’s additional role is to also administer local anaesthesia.    Work on the children was basically non-stop for the entire day from about 7:45am to about 2:45pm. 

Tuesday was even better than the first day.  There were two local volunteers Maria Teresa, who helped with calming young, young children and her mother, who was the main person sterilizing instruments, much the same way we do at home in North America.  All members of the team settled nicely into their roles.  On day 1 and two, over 60 children were seen and treated.

Wednesday and Thursday were extra-busy days, where the usual 60+ students came, in addition to 10-20 children from even poorer rural areas.  Team Quesada stepped it up and rose to the challenge of extra children. Overtime was agreed upon by the project leader and the dentist/assistant teams and we continued to work.  Over 70 patients were seen on each of these days.

The last clinic day was important to follow up with some children that required a second visit, as well as to pack up the supplies and equipment to be ready for the next mission.

Friday afternoon, we made our way back to Antigua, Guatemala.  Some slight vehicle problem set us back a bit of time, but we still made it to safer parts of Antigua, soon after night-fall.  For North Americans and tourists in general, safety by staying indoors in certain parts of Guatemala is very important.

A free day for the volunteers to join local excursions is available on the last full day of the trip.  Some of the team members went to climb Pacaya Volcano.  The others enjoyed a nice day strolling the streets of Central Antigua.  Guatemala is famous for their rich coffees, black and lavender jade, as well as their artisans crafting many different and creative products.

Sunday morning is the travel day back to Toronto, again via San Salvador.  Two days previous to this, there was an incredible snowfall in the Greater Toronto Area, with -15 degree temperatures L

Another successful mission in Quesada, Guatemala.   Thanks for your attention to this great cause.

Dr. Daniel Lee, BSc, DDS

Project Leader, Quesada 2013


DENTAL TEAMS
Health Outreach sends dental/medical teams to developing countries. Our current sponsor community is Monterrico located on the west coast of Guatemala. A tour of duty is 10 days to 2 weeks. In addition to lending their skills, health workers lead public health education talks to local community members and health personnel. Some working knowledge of the Spanish language is expected before traveling to the country. Accommodations are usually modest, comfortable and inexpensive.

LOCAL VOLUNTEERS
Health Outreach has volunteer opportunities at home on an ongoing basis. Volunteers help with office work, fund-raising, desktop publishing and research as well as oversee special events. Together our volunteer possess a diversity of skills and contribute tremendously to our cause.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED

Time:
• Approach people who may have medical/dental equipment to donate
• Check and repair equipment
• Transport supplies and equipment internationally
• Provide storage for donated items
• Participate in programs and events to promote Health Outreach and create public awareness

Seeking material donations:
• Hospitals, Doctor offices
• Medical/Dental suppliers, Pharmaceutical companies
• Corporate Donations
• Private donors
• Financial Gifts

Project Overview  | Donation page 

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