News from the Edge

February 2018 Newsletter – Jornada Medica (Medical Outreach)

Recently we had the pleasure of having our medical director, Dr. Michael, in country. From Jan.24th to Feb.2nd, 9 medical clinics were held in 9 different communities.  Some of these communities are not easily reached! When Dr. Michael is here, it’s a great opportunity to visit these very remote villages. This year we have a milestone for the ASOSAP medical program. In November we will celebrate 10 years of Dr. Michael partnering with ASOSAP! We are so thankful for his faithful commitment to public health amongst Pokomchi families and his generosity in bringing all the equipment and medications needed during the clinics! He and the rest of the ASOSAP staff work together to: maintain a high level of care, expand the depth and breadth of services, and provide continuity in health care by returning to the same communities.

The medical director’s visit specifically serves to support local ASOSAP nursing staff through providing mentoring and education. During medical clinics, the nurses assess, diagnose, and prescribe treatment accordingly. When they need assistance, they know Dr. Michael is available to work alongside them. The system works very well and it’s beautiful to see in action!  This trip, 450 patients were seen! Including 73 chronic patients and 12 new patients who were admitted to the chronic patient program. Many lives were impacted!

One case in particular was very significant. A 21-year-old woman arrived at the clinic with symptoms indicating Appendicitis. An ultrasound was done, which confirmed this. She was stabilized and referred to hospital. But how was she going to get there? An ambulance isn’t readily available. Could she be transported in the ASOSAP vehicle? Was that the best option? As ASOSAP partners with and empowers communities, this was the perfect opportunity for the family and community to be involved in solving this transportation problem. And they did! They found a vehicle. That day the woman was operated on and she remained in hospital for 3 days, to recover.  Then she was discharged home and currently is recovering well.  If she had not received medical attention that day, it is very likely that she would have died. We are so glad this story ended positively. We thank God for ensuring that she got to the clinic safely and for providing the health care team with the necessary skills and equipment to assist her!

“I continue to be incredibly impressed by how much the medical knowledge, skills and thinking by the nursing staff has improved each time I return. The quality of health care provided by this organization is truly something everyone directly or indirectly involved can truly be proud of.”                                                Dr. Michael Polifka, February 2018

As said before, we have news! Another doctor came with Dr. Michael to see how we work and explore partnership possibilities with ASOSAP.  The doctor decided to make a commitment with us! We are very excited to welcome Dr. Beth Lessner to the ASOSAP family! Dr. Beth is from McKinney, Texas and is a board certified Pediatrician. She will return once/ year. We so enjoyed working with her and look forward to her next visit! She and her expertise are a great addition to the program!


While she was here, she also headed a trial of fluoride application. The treatment significantly decreases cavities. It was applied to 95 children (ages 5-12) from the villages of Guachcuz and Santa Cruz de Quetzal. Dr. Beth taught the nurses how to apply it and collected data regarding dental health. The result was that of all the children treated, all have dental health concerns. On average, approx. 1/3 of a child’s mouth was affected by significant tartar build up, gingivitis, or cavities. ASOSAP and the doctors will be exploring the possibilities of continuing this treatment on a long term basis.  Please pray for wisdom regarding this. Please also keep the doctors in your prayers as you would keep the ASOSAP staff in your prayers: for their health, their work, and any other items that come to mind. Thank you for all that you do for ASOSAP!