Thursday, June 11, 2015

VCU GH2DP Outreach Trip to Yoro, Honduras: Summary

Traveling to La Hicaca
Today we returned to San Pedro Sula after a week up in the mountains in rural Yoro, Honduras.

Since 2005 we have been working with approximately 17 villages with little to no access to medical care.

Medicine Clinic in Lomitas
With the aid of our many local, regional, national and international partners we were able to see approximately 700 patients this week. In addition we distributed approximately 90 water filters (each of which will provide an entire household with clean drinking water for 2 years), helped facilitate cervical cancer screening for 80 women and completed a project focused on assessing knowledge and risk factors for dengue and chikungunya infection as well as projects focused on the effectiveness of a new chlorination system and several novel clean water technologies. 

Assembling water filters

Testing new water catchment device
With Dr. Pat Mason and Dr. Ana Sanchez working on our deworming project

Internal Medicine team, Lomitas

Dr. Jason Cook working on water chlorination system project

GH2DP Outreach Team, La Hicaca

GH2DP Pathway Residents and Student Scholars

Friday, June 5, 2015

GH2DP Outreach Trip: Day 2

Last night we arrived in Olanchito late and spent several hours preparing medications and supplies. Today we leave to go to La Hicaca where our first clinic will be held this afternoon.

A major focus of our health outreach work focuses on de-worming. Last year stool testing revealed a high prevalence of whipworm infection despite de-worming with a single dose of albendazole twice yearly. In addition to continuing surveillance we have changed our de-worming protocol to better target whipworm and have initiated a new de-worming tracking project.

After this morning there will likely be no new posts until we get back from the mountains. Will share more about our trip when we return.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

GH2DP Outreach Trip to Yoro, Honduras

Today is day one of our outreach trip to rural Yoro, Honduras, on a medical and public health outreach trip with VCU's Global Health and Health Disparities Program (GH2DP). 

The U.S. contingent of our group left early this morning and has arrived in San Pedro Sula. In addition to our group we have approximately 950 pounds of gear and supplies we will transport to Olanchito and organize tonight.

Our plan is to meet the rest of our group and transport our team and supplies up to the rural, mountainous village of La Hicaca tomorrow. From here we will stage our medical and public health outreach work.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

GH2DP Outreach Trip to Rural Yoro, Honduras: June 2015

Students and residents preparing water
filters in Lomitas
Our upcoming outreach trip to rural Yoro, Honduras is fast approaching. Our team, in collaboration with the local Ministry of Health and many local, regional and international partners, helps provide care to approximately 1,200 people from 17 villages. We have been working collaboratively to provide care in this region for the past 10 years.

Our team is once again fairly large and includes attending
physicians (pediatricians and internists), medical and pediatric residents, an attending pharmacist, students from medicine, pharmacy and public health in addition to an undergraduate engineering student and numerous other individuals. We are once again collaborating with colleagues from Brock University and the National Autonomous University of Honduras on a project exploring the local prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth (worm) infection.

Engineers Without Borders students with a novel rain
water catchment device in La Hicaca 
We will also get to see first-hand numerous other projects we have been longitudinally collaborating on: an improved cookstove project we have been working on with a local nonprofit (the Pico Bonito Foundation) as well as the placement of numerous new latrines. We will also get to see the new chlorination systems that were installed this past year. Six of the villages we serve (and approximately 40% of the population we serve) have access to water directly in their homes via a network of pipes that gravity-feed water from five different cisterns which are themselves fed by a river deeper in the mountains. We collaborated with local partners to install chlorination systems that slowly leach chlorine into water at the level of the cistern. We have had a water filter project in the region since 2008 that provides clean drinking water to the entire region. We know from our prior work these locally-created filters are clinically and microbiologically effective. Since the new chlorination systems have replaced the filters for the villages where these were installed we have a project that will look at the microbiologic and clinical effectiveness of these new systems. Additionally, we will also be testing water (at the level of individual homes) for chlorine content.

With colleagues from the National Autonomous University
of Honduras and Brock University
We have once again partnered with VCU's Engineers Without Borders student chapter to trial several novel clean water devices.

We also have a study focused on knowledge, attitudes and risk factors for the mosquito-borne diseases dengue and chikungunya.

In terms of our direct clinical work we have modified our typical clinic schedule somewhat in an attempt to be more accessible to patients in outlying areas. The population we serve is spread across a wide geographic area and some people travel 6 to 7 hours one way by foot to see us; unfortunately the infrastructure only provides a few road access points to facilitate moving our group and supplies. We hope our new schedule will allow us to serve more people.

Testing water for microbiologic contamination 
This year we will also be trialing a new education project focused on our student and resident trainees. This focuses on core content highlighted during the trip (focusing on demography, tropical dermatology, tropical infectious diseases and chronic disease screening).

Clinic in Lomitas 
We have a fantastic group this year who have worked very hard to prepare for this trip. I am absolutely thrilled to work with and learn from this amazing group of students, residents and our many community, regional and international partners.

I will blog about our trip as cellular access allows; we also will be tweeting about the trip (#GH2DP).