Thursday, October 23, 2014

Timmy Global Health and Pop Wuj Medical Brigade: October 13-17, 2014

Text by Emma Gilbert
Photos by Jeff Leventhal

Even though I was warned about what a hectic week it would be, I don't think I could have imagined how much hard work goes into planning a Timmy Global Health brigade. Starting my first week at Pop Wuj, we talked about what we would need for the week—20 translators, 15 loaves of bread, and lots of energy! 

Day 2, Xeabaj II: Timmy Global Health volunteers and volunteer translators from Chiriquiac, Cantel.
Day 2, Xeabaj II:  Volunteer translators from the Chiriquiac scholarship group.
During the week we would visit five different communities. Some were close and familiar, such as Llanos del Pinal and then here in Xela. Others were much more remote, such as Pujujil in the Sololá department.

Day 2, Xeabaj II: Lining up for registration

Day 2, Xeabaj II: Registration Line

Day 4, Buena Vista

Day 4, Buena Vista: Pop Wuj Social Work Spanish student, Michael, helping take patient histories

Although the communities were very different from each other, the one common factor found in all was a great need for healthcare. For many, Timmy brigades are the only option for accessible and affordable health services. As a translator, I was privileged to speak with a lot of different people and I noticed that a frequent topic of conversation was how people depend on Timmy to get critical medicines for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and gastritis. Oftentimes, these medicines are beyond financial reach for families struggling with multiple illnesses.

Day 4, Buena Vista

Day 4, Buena Vista

Day 2, Xeabaj II:  Pharmacy
Something else that I noticed throughout the week was that patients were equally grateful for the medicine as they were for someone who would listen to their concerns. More than a few times, patients would ask me to thank the doctor for providing them with such personalized attention and care. 

Day 4, Buena Vista:  Carmen, Pop Wuj's Director of Social Projects,
completing an intake interview for chronic and referral patients.

A major takeaway for me was the social care that the Timmy brigade is capable of providing. As translators, doctors, students, and volunteers, we were working to serve the patients in a comprehensive way that would fill their physical and emotional needs. It was especially cool to see repeat patients come in and tell the doctors that their new medicines from the past brigade had been working well. Other highlights include giving a hopeful mom the news that she was pregnant, and telling a man with chronic headaches that his new glasses had arrived from Xela!
Day 5, Pop Wuj Clinic, Xela

Day 5, Pop Wuj Clinic, Xela
Overall, I am grateful to have worked with a group that recognized their responsibility to provide care to patients, regardless of nationality, economic status, or social background. This brigade saw over 400 patients and I hope that the next brigade in January will be able to do the same!  Thanks Timmy Global Health and the University of Cincinnati!

No comments:

Post a Comment