First off, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Pi Day! This morning started off with Dr. Bosworth and Chad meeting with a mayor to discuss the land that Preventive Health Strategies has purchased for the English immersion school and clinic. From what we found out, the meeting went very well and we are going to be treating the mayor’s people tomorrow—which will be another huge outreach for our team. The Haitian title of “mayor” is hard to fully describe because his position as mayor is not simply being the public face of a certain town, but rather, he controls the land, people, army, and a handful of other areas. In America, this title is probably better described as a governor. By helping the mayor and his people, this will open so many more doors of opportunity for our mission to grow further because he had informed Chad and Dr. Bosworth that 500 kids die each month in his community due to worms, malaria, and other completely treatable illnesses. 500 kids is an incredible number that we sincerely want to reduce, so with the mayor’s support on our side, we may be able to have access to other resources besides our own to fight this number.
After the meeting with the mayor, we packed up our buckets of medications and headed back to the first school we visited during this trip. The main guy in charge of the school, Warren, welcomed us and helped set up a classroom to use as our clinic. Dr. Bosworth instructed us in our Plan A of action, giving Mandy, Taylor, her three boys, and me specific jobs to help this process run smoothly. We started out by having each child come from their classroom, one by one, and treated them with the worming medication. If we noticed a fever or other noticeable health concern, we had the children wait in a line to see Dr. Bosworth. For the most part, the kids seemed to be in good health but they definitely did not like the bitter taste of the worming pill. After the first classroom or so, chaos broke out. There were kids everywhere and it was difficult for us to maintain any sense of order or organization; it was time for Plan B. We had our translator, Michael, helping us shuttle the crowds of children out after they had been seen by us while the other translator at the school, James, assisted Dr. Bosworth in consulting the kids. To help our team keep track of who has had the worming medication, we use a systematic approach—after we make sure the pill has been chewed and swallowed, we give each child a sticker and piece of candy because the candy will leave its mark on their tongues.
Our new plan of order and “crowd control” seemed to work efficiently after that because we could hear ourselves think and listen in on Dr. Bosworth’s consultations. Shadowing Dr. Bosworth for the past few days has been extremely beneficial for both Mandy and me since we are both aspiring health care professionals. Dr. Bosworth has shown us how to look for anemia in the eyes, how to get hard wax build-up out of ears without hurting someone, and how to dispense appropriate dosages of medications based on children versus adults. Being able to think critically about what prescriptions can and cannot be given to children is an amazing skill because you do not have to spend time re-evaluating yourself, but you can move on to the next patient rather quickly—which is super helpful when you have people spreading the word like wildfire that a doctor is in the area.
Once we finished treating people for the day, it was finally time for lunch and Dr. Bosworth’s three energetic sons could not have been happier. During our lunch, Warren informed us that he was going to be funding a water purification system for the local school where Taylor’s “kids” are. Currently, the community that this school is in has a water irrigation system where water flows directly from the mountains, so it is mostly clean but simply needs to be purified so that the community can safely drink and cook with the water. Warren showed us how these water systems work because he has them installed in all the schools that he runs in addition to solar power capabilities. The water purification systems are essentially a series of filters that are powered by a car battery—sort of like when you have to use jumper cables to start a car in the winter. The water purifier slowly traps unwanted particles, minerals, and eventually uses ultraviolet lighting to get rid of the micro-sized particles like ions as it filters the water out of the hose. Warren also taught us that these purification systems are capable of pumping out one gallon per minute. This is CRAZY to think about because simply having one water purification system can provide enough water for not only a school but the outlying community as well.
To finish off our day, we made a home visit to see what a typical “well-off” Haitian house looked like. We found that this house had two separate rooms, each having a bed and some form of storage shelving; one room even had the luxury of a TV. The reason for this visit was to check on a pregnant woman to make sure she and the baby were healthy. The mini ultrasound device that Dr. Bosworth used was the coolest thing I have ever seen because it is so easy to take with us and gives a totally clear image of the baby just like you would get in a doctor’s office.
I cannot wait to see what is in store for us tomorrow and the final days ahead because our clinics are becoming bigger, more involved, and pushing our thinking and organizing skills even more.