What a difference a day makes

A 21-year-old mother came to the local women’s centre with her 5-month-old baby, looking for medical care. She presented with high fever, tremors, high blood pressure and pain during urination. Her daughter presented with mild fever and irritability due to teething.

Despite their ill health, it would turn out to be a good day. For the first time in a very long time, free health care was finally available to the underprivileged populations in their community in Panama.

Two nurses and a teacher had arrived from Canada with four Travel Packs from HPIC (Physician and Dental), ready to work with local doctors and nurses to conduct free clinics: one at the city prison and another at the women’s centre.

The Rehabilitation Nueva Esperanza is the prison for men convicted of minor crimes. Despite the poor conditions, with medicine from the PTPs, the doctors were able to attend to about 200 inmates.

At the women’s centre, the team saw 80 women and children. The most common conditions treated were sinusitis, urinary tract infections, high blood pressure, skin infections, unhealed wounds, diabetes and malnutrition. The community in general was suffering from substandard health care including a lack of information and education regarding health, poor access to medical professionals and the lack of financial resources to get the necessary medications.

The young mother was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and prescribed medication from the PTP. Her daughter was prescribed infant Tylenol drops for her pain. Because both of them were seen quickly, at no charge and at a clinic close to home, they would make a rapid recovery and return to their normal lives, healthier and happier.

RN Martine Lagasse writes, “The donated medicines allow people in the community to promptly access treatment. The clinic also offers the opportunity to provide health education. Patients learn how to take care of themselves and their loved ones.
“Having a medical clinic organized for the people gives them a sense of hope and a profound sentiment that someone cares.”