March 2014 – 1st TRIP
On our first trip to El Salvador, we began our efforts by performing a needs assessment of the rural community of Miraflores. We were given an opportunity to give a presentation at a local school on dental health and hand hygiene through the use of interactive games and song. Afterward, we distributed toothbrushes and toothpaste to the children that were graciously donated to us.
We were very humbled by the people of Miraflores who, when asked to tell us the one thing they desired the most, stunned us the simplest of answers: “Agua” Translation: Water.
At the time, there was only one source of clean drinking water in the area that provided for a population of ten thousand families. It then became one of our primary goals to fund raise and coordinate the placement of more wells for clean drinking water.
October 2014 – Partnering with Glasswing to Provide Medical Education
Through our partnership with Glasswing International, we spent two days teaching a basic pediatric emergency care course at San Rafael National Hospital to a group of nurses, residents, and attendants. Topics consisted of basic recognition and management of the unstable pediatric patient. We also spent time teaching a course on Helping Babies Breathe, a program that is sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization in efforts to decrease neonatal mortality in resource-limited developing countries.
October 2015 – Trip to El Salvador to Teach and to Serve
As RIGME’s efforts are both focused on providing basic health services to the children in Central America, as well as teaching medical skills to their local providers, we continued this tradition for our October 2015 trip to El Salvador. We spent two days providing dental health education and applying fluoride varnish to the children in the community of Miraflores. Next, we directed our focus on providing a one day workshop to the healthcare workers, (or promotores), in the La Paz district. This workshop began with a “Pre-Test” to assess the promotores’ overall medical knowledge of the topics included in our workshop agenda. We then provided PowerPoint lectures, given in either Spanish or with a native translator, on Asthma, Dehydration, Basic Life Support (BLS), and Helping Babies Breath (HBB). After the didactic sessions we reinforced our teaching points on BLS and HBB by providing hands-on skills training with mannequins in small group sessions. The promotores’ improvement in both knowledge and skill were evident by an overall increase in their post-test scores at the end of the day! We received positive feedback from the surveys that the promotores took at the close of the workshop, with a majority of them reporting that the training session enhanced their knowledge and was applicable to their current daily practices. Our group finished off the trip by spending the remaining two days at Bloom Children’s hospital observing and learning about rare and interesting pediatric cases.
April 2016 – Global Medicine in Our Own Backyard!
Our trip to El Salvador was cancelled due to the ZIKA outbreak that was occurring in the South and Central Americas. Our global medicine efforts therefore, took place right here in our local communities on Long Island. We began in the heart of Hempstead, NY, at the NYU Winthrop Hospital Pediatric Center, a pediatric office that cares for the under served and under privileged children in the community. Many of the doctors are involved with RIGME and have even traveled to El Salvador! It was at this clinic where we provided fluoride varnishes and oral health education over two days to some of the pediatric patients. In addition to receiving a fluoride varnish application to their teeth, the children received their very own toothbrushes and toothpastes as well! Bright and happy smiles were seen leaving the clinic that day!!
At the same pediatric clinic, we also held support group sessions for the children and parents of those who recently arrived to this country. These sessions served as an opportunity for the families to network with each other. The children were able to participate in various activities and share memories about the country they came from, their journey here, and their experience since arriving to the United States. We all had so much fun and learned a great deal from one another.
Our final event for the week took place at the Life Lutheran Church in Westbury, NY, for a large population of parents and children from various countries, all who speak English as a second language. The pediatric residents presented on various topics such as newborn care, summer safety, fever management, oral health, and nutrition. It was an open forum for questions, and we had translators dedicated to aid in the discussion. We finished the event with educational activities and giveaways for the kids as well as refreshments. We had so much fun putting it together and hope to have more events like this in the future!
April 2017 – Visiting Santa Cristina School: the site for a new well and new toilets!
Stay tuned for recap…