Editor’s Note: Students involved with UMHS Med4You visited Guatemala back in August 2017. This post was originally scheduled to run last fall before the catastrophe of Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and Med4You members put all their efforts into helping people affected by the storm. UMHS wants everyone to see the great work Med4You and UMHS students have done in other medically underserved communities as well.
By the UMHS Med4You Team
As a part of our drive, we decided to take our very first big step by approaching a community in desperate need in Zacapa, Guatemala. Eight medical students—coursing different semesters and a current UMHS medical professor—volunteered to be a part of this medical mission trip. Throughout this trip, we saw the conditions in which this community lived in and we couldn’t help ourselves but to empathize with them and the rest of the world. We took it upon ourselves to work and put our best effort in providing these individuals the healthcare that every human being deserves.
It all began when we visited a place called “The Dump” where we saw the conditions in which that community lived. Children and their families would recycle dirty containers and bowls in order to put the food and water that we provided them. The adults that worked in “The Dump” had a 12-hour shift where they barely earned $2.00 U.S. a week.
Throughout the trip, we saw children, adults and families with many congenital diseases that can be easily prevented if they only had the access to health care. These diseases include: Edward’s Trisomy, Trisomy 21, Polio, Microcephaly, Macrocephaly, and a variety of neural-tube defects, among many other studied diseases in medical school. We had the opportunity to go on a rescue where we had to drive for two hours with an ambulance to pick up a child who was in a life-threatening condition, and we brought him back to the Emergency Department of the nearest hospital.
With so much necessity being seen, we decided to put up medical clinics. These clinics consisted of a vital sign station, a history-taking station, a diagnosis station and a pharmacy. We saw over 350+ patients that needed de-parasites, pre-natal vitamins, folic acid, antibiotics, antifungals, medication for gastritis, fever, cough, etc. Besides proving our empathy, love and resilience for them, we gave them the medical attention they desperately needed.
If poverty at this level occurred in Guatemala, could you imagine the conditions that other Third World countries live in? Take a leap of hope, faith and action. Join Med4You on our upcoming medical mission trips around different countries in desperate need of our help. We invite you to share these opportunities with your colleagues, family members and friends. Not only are we doing a good deed to their societies, but we are also learning, applying our current knowledge and becoming better individuals and professionals.
More Photos from Med4You’s Guatemala Trip
Built in the tradition of the best US universities, the University of Medicine and Health Sciences focuses on individual student attention, maintaining small class sizes and recruiting high-quality faculty. We call this unique approach, “personalized medical education,” and it’s what has led to our unprecedented 96% student retention rate, and outstanding residency placements across the US and Canada. UMHS is challenging everything you thought you knew about Caribbean medical schools.