Dr. Michael, with a 12-month supply of chronic patient medications, arrived on July 11th for 3 ½ days of medical clinics. This is the first time that he was able to travel to Guatemala since the pandemic began. The focus of the outreach was for Dr. Michael to assess the chronic patients and adjust their treatment regime as needed. This was a priority as he needs to assess them annually. A few pre-selected general patients with complicated medical needs were seen as well.
What a blessing that he arrived safely and that the chronic patients will continue to have the medications they need!
Seventy five of the eighty two chronic patients were seen at the Pampacche, Providencia, or Rosario Italia health posts. Most are doing very well, continuing to have a quality of life that they wouldn’t have if not for the chronic patients’ program. The medical condition of some is progressing. They are at the maximum doses of their medications and no other medical treatment is available. Some have been treated for 8 years and likely wouldn’t have survived this long if their conditions were left untreated. Their stable health for many years is a glowing testament to the chronic patients’ program, where vulnerable patients who are often forgotten by the health system here are seen and given excellent care.
It is a great joy for ASOSAP staff and Dr. Michael to provide this care. We were all especially pleased to be able to work as a team during the medical outreach as we hadn’t been able to do so for such a long time. The patients likewise were happy, especially to see Dr. Michael.
Two of the general patients were identified with chronic conditions and added to the chronic patient program. Another of the general patients was saved from dire consequences. The man had a large leg ulcer that hadn’t improved in many months despite receiving treatment. Dr. Michael examined him and felt that the original diagnosis was not correct so he changed the treatment plan accordingly. With these changes, the wound is showing signs of decreased infection and slowly decreasing in size! The patient will have a long road to recovery, but we are thrilled with the results so far! Nurse Alicia has been doing an excellent job of caring for this patient.
A crucial component of Dr. Michael’s visits is the mentoring that he gives the nurses. During the clinics, Dr. Michael took any opportunity that arose as a teaching moment to expand their knowledge and ability to care for patients.
As part of his ongoing teaching, at the end of the clinics, Dr. Michael held a nurses’ education session at the Shekinah Center. Various topics were covered, but of critical importance was a review of COVID 19. How this highly contagious virus is spread and how to prevent spread of the virus was included. They also learned why having more people in the community vaccinated increases the effectiveness of stopping transmission. The nurses are keeping track of how many chronic patients have been vaccinated.
Some patients have received the vaccine, but others, due to fear, have refused it. This is even though it is readily available to them. During medical outreach, Dr. Michael encouraged the nurses to dig deeper with each patient who hadn’t been vaccinated. Through this they could provide answers to their concerns about the vaccine and reassure them. Strategies regarding this were also talked about during the education. Dr. Michael noted that having the nurses talk with the patients one-on-one produced results. Many patients agreed to be vaccinated after those conversations.
“It speaks again as to why ASOSAP’s medical program is so successful, local health providers treating their own people” stated Dr. Michael.
Overall, this shortened medical outreach was a great success! The next medical outreach is planned for January 2022.
We deeply thank you for covering this time in prayer! God answered with a big yes! We look forward to seeing how God moves in medical outreach next year.