Haitian Child

Haitian Child

Monday, January 9, 2012

Community Outreach Program



This trip was far more successful than my prior efforts. Experience counts.

From the outset I decided that I wanted to find a location where I could return and continue to work as a paediatrician. I desired continuity.

I did not aspire to visit foreign places once and then move on, although this is the most common pattern for a medical volunteer. For some volunteers the destination country is the reason for the trip and each volunteer opportunity is a location on the volunteer’s bucket list. I get that. Help is help and always appreciated.

However, for me, I desired continuity. I knew that continuity would educate me and that really making a difference always requires knowledge. When a patient returns improved this is affirmation of success; when a patient returns and is not improved, this means I need to improve. Continuity is a great teacher. My ground rules are to improve the quality of my care with each subsequent visit. There is no reason why I cannot continue to improve. 

I have only seen a tiny tip of the iceberg of poor health in the region. The mothers who came to the clinic had to hear about my visit and they needed transportation. Communication and transportation are key issues that need ongoing improvement.

One way to improve transportation and communication is for me to travel to the patients. If I travel to a community, this solves the transportation problem and local communication will be simpler. As such, with my next trip I want to start a Community Outreach Program.

The Goals of the Community Outreach Program will be Paediatric Health Screening and Paediatric Health Education

Paediatric Health Screening
Check the immunization cards of the children.
Check height, weight, and head circumference and plot the data on a growth chart.
Check a stool specimen for parasites and worms.
Check a dipstick urinalysis.

Children with abnormal screening tests will be referred for follow up to the Clinic.


Paediatric Health Education
Essentials of good nutrition
How to disinfect water with SODIS
How to prevent worm disease
How to use oral rehydration solution
How to treat fever

Provide Basic Medications for Every Child
1. Multi-vitamin - two month supply
2. Acetaminophen with Spanish instructions on dosage
3. Oral rehydration solution packets sufficient to make two liters with Spanish instructions on how to prepare and use

With the approval of the mother, every child could be treated for worms with mebendazole 
and for parasites with metronidazole. 

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