Day 4

Today was our first day providing medical care for the San Ignacio / Santa Elena communities. We began with a tour of the San Ignacio Community Hospital which sits atop a hill overlooking the city. This was an incredible opportunity to see first hand the state and functionality of Belize’s health care system.
The hospital was very modest with only 16 beds with a very large focus on Maternal Infant health. The nurse giving our tour said they provide many forms of contraception for women for free, the most common being the Birth Control Implant. They also put a huge emphasis on breastfeeding, illustrated by posters all through the halls. We were shown their 7 bed mother baby unit, sterilization room, and 9 bed emergency department that doubled as their med-surg. Seeing their highest levels of medical care personally gave us a perspective of the treatments and resources our to-be patients have available to them.
Following the tour we traveled across one laned Hawkesworth Bridge into Santa Elena for clinic at Santa Elena Roman Catholic School. We saw a total of 297 patients in grades 1-3, their teachers and a handful of other school workers. Patient diagnoses spanned from allergy or asthma related to heart murmurs and and sprained ankles. The children were all so genuinely joyful and incredibly well behaved. The most consistent health problem identified among these children were dental carries. Many of their smiling baby teeth were stunted in growth and turning blue/black from lack of oral hygiene practice. Many of the kids know they should be brushing their teeth, but their families simply do not have the access or income necessary for proper care. We were able to provide lots of patient education in various areas. In all, even after a just a short clinic, each team member finished the day with a sense of accomplishment, personal growth and a full heart.

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