Field Note #166: Medical Aid and Clean Water in Honduras

As a team of medical students, medical residents, doctors, dentists, and nurses, every year we travel to villages outside of La Esperanza, Honduras to offer free medical care to residents in these communities. Each of us offers unique skills to contribute to the larger mission of the team as a whole. We see as many patients as possible over one week’s time, performing tooth extractions, prescribing medications, and arranging or even performing surgeries in the local hospital. In order to expand what we can offer our patients, we also think long term. The trip organizer and leader, Dr. Richard Paat, is adamant about the continuity of the care we provide by training local contacts in the areas, and keeping in touch through local doctors.

This year, we were able to train and distribute Sawyer filters to some of the neediest families in each location we visited. This is another service in long term health improvement and prevention. The Sawyer filter is a lightweight, portable, and durable means of filtering the bacteria and parasites that are so prevalent in the region. Years back, while examining the water with a microscope, a researcher with the team remarked, “I don’t know what all this stuff is, but there’s a lot of it and it wiggles.”

While the thought of bacteria and parasites causes discomfort for us, it causes lasting and detrimental impact on the lives of those drinking affected water. The body cannot use all available nutrients when affected by parasites. These organisms cause diarrhea and malnutrition which limit the growth of the mind and body. Through proper use of the filters provided by Wine To Water, we were able to give families a means to avoid infection and better their long-term health. We would all agree that clean water is a basic human right. Helping guarantee this for these families has been integral to our mission as health care providers.

-Sudipa and Eric, our friends at Toledo Medical Missions

Sydney Wolford