When Chicoutimi pharmacist Isabelle Bujold served on a medical mission in Thiaré, Senegal, she and her team were so grateful to have the appropriate medicine for every diagnosis given.
“When we unpacked the Physician Travel Packs, the head nurse’s eyes were sparkling taking in all the great medicines,” she wrote in her report to Health Partners International of Canada.
The team saw between 30-40 patients every day, mainly women and children since during the dry season the men are out looking for work elsewhere. The most common illnesses were respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, infected wounds, malnutrition, chronic pain and digestive problems.
“A lot of these people have no revenue so they usually go without care,” Isabelle wrote. “In addition, the medicine most often available is not effective. When a team from Infirmiers et infirmières sans frontiers with Physician Travel Packs is there, they have a chance to be seen and treated.”
One of the people who benefitted from care and treatment from the three Physician Travel Packs Isabelle brought, was a nine-month-old baby girl. When the baby arrived, she seemed generally unwell, was running a fever, had nasal congestion and a cough, and her eyes were discharging pus.
“She couldn’t open her eyes and was not able to eat much. After a clinical evaluation, we diagnosed two ear infections, conjunctivitis and bronchitis and gave her the first dose of an antibiotic called Azithromycine (Zithromax donated by Pfizer). We gave her mother the rest of the medicine so she could continue the treatment at home,” she wrote.
Three days later the mother and baby came back for a check-up. “The whole team was happy to see the baby who was now well on her way to recovery. And at last, we could finally see her big beautiful brown eyes.”
“The patients I saw were so grateful for what we brought them. They welcomed us on the first night with a ceremony they call ‘the suitcase ceremony.’ They recognize the importance and the positive impact that these medicines will have for their people. They could not stop thanking us and it is for this reason that I say it is important to keep donating to HPIC.”