We hosted two groups in February. The first was via Bring Good News, where our friend from lo so many years ago, Rick Wolford serves as Executive Director. It was a medical group, one that helped us continue to evolve and look at how we will do "medical groups" differently. We used to do "brigades" which was doing rural work, seeing as many patients as possible in rural areas. We switched things up last year, seeking how to use these groups to continue to bring health to those that need it...but balancing more the physical and the spiritual.
We are far from perfecting this per se, and doubt we ever will, we want to change our focus to seeking constant tweeks and/or improvements and not be set in our ways. This means giving ourselves feedback, working with the group, and as well the pastors that host the rural events.
In rural areas we start with a Church service (scripture, songs, sermon) and then give health lessons, and then after lunch see the patients in that more traditional setting of the past. We have been limiting then who can attend...by invitation only via the Church 50, sometimes 75 people.
This medical group also brought readers, and with Valerie able now to spend more time with groups (since Dra. Alejandra can see optometric patients back at the clinic when Valerie is gone), she was able to give a very brief eye exam to everyone and get the readers to those that needed them, which was a great surprise/change from years past.
The health care topics this time included HIV and STDs, as well as covering breast, testicular and prostrate cancer. We split the people up into male/female groups for those topics and it went so well with many questions/clarifications.
We will be talking, thinking, and praying about how to continue to improve these types of groups in the future, there will be more to come!
The Fellowship of Christian Optometrist group from Illinois College of Optometry was a small but mighty group this year, just three students, along with another doctor from Indiana that came to help for several days.
Being such a small group, rural work would have been somewhat problematic. While thinking about that...we had another idea, to use the group in the clinic and do some promotion into the surrounding neighborhoods to let more people know the clinic is there. Unlike seventeen years ago when you could see the clinic easily for the stark countryside, now if you live just a few blocks from the clinic you might otherwise never know it was there. After posting signs and handing out 3,000 leaflets...we saw patients all week, the vast majority of whom had never been to the clinic previous, and some with some complicated or serious problems that were not previously diagnosed. We might also be thinking about how to use these rare optometry groups even better in the future, including perhaps some more time in the clinic as well. These type of specialist groups take more time, planning, training and thought...but they are so rare for us to get that we are just grateful for the opportunity!
Dra. Berta giving the respiratory lesson for the Church in Talanga
Cecilia was able to come help translate for at least one day!
Valerie could not resist the opportunity to give a quick check to all the children that came to the health day in Danli
This was a surprise patient who was happy (yes, he is smiling) to get glasses!
Dr. Gercheck giving Dra. Alejandra a visual therapy exam and some extra VT training