A medical team from the University of Ottawa and their leader, Dr. Charles Czarnowski, visited Kankintu, a remote community in Panama, to offer free medical care to people from a dozen surrounding villages.
They carried with them five Physician Travel Packs to provide the medicine and supplies they needed.
Dr. Pamela Anand tells the surprising story of one infant she treated:
“I saw a four-month-old boy on the second day of clinic, and was immediately concerned. He had lost patches of hair from his scalp because of a fungal infection, and that infection had superinfected with bacteria. All over his body, he had skin lesions infected with bacteria. He had a pus-like discharge from his eyes. He also had diarrhea, and looked unwell.
“This baby had five different infections all at once. No one antibiotic could cover all his conditions, because he had a combination of fungal, parasitic and bacterial infections.
“Complicating his care was the fact that the family had walked four hours from their village by foot, just to be able to seek medical attention. It appeared that the entire family had scabies – a contagious skin rash. We needed to treat the entire family for scabies and parasites, and this child with antibacterial medications for his skin infection, a topical antifungal for his scalp, medicine for intestinal parasites and topical antibacterial ointment for his eyes.
“I thought this child needed follow up, but I didn’t know whether the family would be able to make the trip again. Happily, a week later, just as we were packing to return home, he came back with his family. He was cheery and playful. His skin infections, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, scabies, and parasites had all resolved.
“I could not believe how much difference these antibiotics and medical care could make.”