2016 was a year of reflection, improvement and continued growth. In fact, it was our biggest year yet! We have been thinking about all of the accomplishments in our communities across the globe, and here are just a few of the highlights.
Although there currently are no volunteers at Project Las Delicias, the FIMRC mission is alive and well! As time at Project Las Delicias has passed, Dra. Tania began noticing a change that was needed; with the help of FIMRC staff and volunteers, she has begun to implement programs that center around teenagers. Two programs in particular that were started earlier this year are the Parenthood Planning Program and the Empowering Teens Program.
Volunteers often wonder what they will be doing while on a FIMRC trip. We try to keep volunteers up to date with a schedule for their time on site, however, activities are always subject to change - especially in the world of global health! Two Project Las Delicias Alumni, Lois and Lipsky, share their day-to-day activities from their time in El Salvador last month!
Tuesday Morning: Community walk with the group (a few more women joined) to get to know the community, the problems and resources. We sketched a map of the area. Lois spent the morning with Tania, the clinic physician who is a pediatrician doing family practice; observing and discussing some of the health management issues due to the limited resources of the clinic. All medicines are in limited supply, e.g. having only Amoxicillin for antibiotics. We also observed needs in the clinic building itself, including new paint, cleaning, and repair. A brigade to help spruce up the clinic, build some furniture and storage space, and improve the clinic sink and bathroom facilities would be incredibly helpful.
Tuesday Afternoon: Lois trained the group on fluoride application, discussing the causes of dental decay and prevention and the role of fluoride. After demonstrating how to apply the fluoride on Molly, we all practiced on each other. We sorted the toothbrushes/paste and packaged them individually for distribution during the dental campaigns.
Wednesday morning: We held the first fluoride campaign outside next to the clinic. We treated 66 individuals, mostly children and their mothers. Each person treated received a toothbrush and paste. We put up large paper for people to write down what the community needs were and what people liked about the community. Only a few comments were made.
Wednesday afternoon: We planned for the health fair to be held on Friday. We divided up the charlas (health education talks) for the fair and the following week. As part of this preparation, Lois demonstrated the talk on sexually transmitted infections.
Friday morning: The group organized and held the Health Fair at the community center, starting with the fluoride applications—76 individuals were treated, including children, women and men. Each person treated was given a toothbrush, but we ran out of toothpaste early on. It is clear that dental care is greatly needed in this community as there are no local resources currently to provide dental care.
We set up a couple of long tables for the children to color in the coloring books we brought—the childcare teacher brought her children from the daycare center and there were many other children who came and participated. We gave several coloring books and crayons (donated by a U.S. friend of ours) to the daycare teacher for her center as well. We also had purchased a piñata and the kids went crazy over it (we filled it with small toys instead of candy--in keeping with our message of dental health).
Two women from the training group and Lois gave a charla on nutrition for the children and then the adults. The three teens held two trainings on first aid—one for the children and one for the adults.
As you can see, each day on site is a bit different, but the focus remains improving the health of those in the communities we serve! For more information about volunteering at Project Las Delicias, click here.