About Me

My photo
Managua, Nicaragua
I'm participating in a month-long medical trip to Nicaragua, so I'd like to use this blog to document all of my experiences abroad and keep everyone at home in touch!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 14-15

Yesterday I wasn’t able to update my blog because the power went out at the hotel for the evening. Luckily it was back up and functioning this afternoon. Early this morning, we traveled to Nidiri, a small town on the outskirts of Masaya, to attend a regional health fair. The Ortega government sponsors these fairs in several communities throughout the country once or twice a month on average. The people of the communities come for general check-ups (most notably for blood pressure and glucose tests) and vaccines for their children. Sexual and women's health are also addressed with information about contraception, free HIV/AIDS tests, and cervical cancer screenings.

Over 100 hundred children from ages 5-10 were lined up to receive their vaccinations upon our arrival. We were introduced to a few of the doctors and other health care professionals scheduled to work the fair and split up into smaller groups to treat patients. Myself, as well as one other student, were in charge of administering glucose tests. Giving vaccinations would have been a new opportunity, but I was relieved I would be poking the fingers of adults (as opposed to children) all morning. Being deemed the ‘bad guy’ by all of those precious, smiling faces would have been difficult.
As the day went on, several children continually came up to our table to watch the process. Instead of making them cry, we were able to show them how the glucose test is done and explain a little bit about its results and diabetes. I made friends with an especially curious 7-yr old boy from the community named Brandon. He was an eager learner who stood by my side for well over an hour. By the time we were getting ready to leave, he actually wanted us to poke his finger! Before leaving for the hospital, we were shown how to conduct a Pap smear. We will be helping out at another regional health fair some time late next week. I really enjoyed my time there this morning. Educating about preventative medicine seems to be incredibly important here.
During lunch, we asked Dr. Cerrato several questions about the Nicaraguan health care system and its differences in comparison to the United States. In Nicaragua, all doctors are trained to be both general surgeons and primary care physicians. After medical school, each MD must work for the government for a minimum of six years in a public hospital or clinic. After those years of service, one is permitted to work in private practice. He also told us that the average doctor only makes on average around $500-700 USD per month (some of the more successful surgeons make around $1,000). We were all shocked to hear these figures. Although cost of living in NICA is less that it is in the States, these figures are still astonishingly low. The average citizen makes less than $1,500 USD p/ year.

This afternoon in the hospital we worked in the ER and sat in on two surgeries. We scrubbed in on a gall-bladder surgery of a 20-yr old female. After removing the gall bladder, the surgeons showed us the massive stone. It had the size and appearance of a large green grape. We later witnessed the removal of a golf-ball size hernia from the naval of a 50-yr old female. To my surprise, the patient was kept awake (though hardly lucid) throughout the procedure. Next we were scheduled to see a delivery, but unfortunately the baby had just been born when we walked in. On a side note- It’s especially difficult for me to understand the Spanish of some of the surgeons during these procedures because I’m not able to look at their lips and their words are muffled under their masks.
Tomorrow we are headed back to the hospital at 7 am- I’m still very much looking forward to all I will get to learn and see during the next two weeks. So far, the doctors and nurses have been very helpful. The majority of them explain to us what they are doing and why they are doing it.

No comments:

Post a Comment