Our welcoming crew into Guatemala was two tugboats guiding us into port, light drizzle and a large-mass of rain clouds letting just a light poke out around them.
At about 10 a.m., the Continuing Promise 2011(CP11) medical team, including Project HOPE volunteer started rolling out to the Los Angeles site for surgical screenings. The teams pumped out 179 screenings in less than five hours. Over the next couple of days, 69 surgeries will be performed onboard the USNS Comfort.
According to HOPE volunteer Kim Jacomo, most of the surgeries tomorrow will consist of hernias and cataract patients.
While preparations for work in Guatemala take place ashore, onboard the USNS Comfort, many of the volunteers presented health care education seminars.
Volunteer Dr. Jennifer Mbuthia, a Pediatric Allergist-Immunologist from Silver Spring gave a presentation on her specialty, pediatric allergies to the medical personnel onboard. “My hope is to get everyone on the same sheet of music and make food allergy interesting,” she announced at the start of her lecture. Dr. Mbuthia concentrated on the importance of educating parents about allergies.
Directly following Dr. Mbuthia lecture, the three HOPE nurse practitioner students gave a lecture on Chagas, which is a disease found in Guatemala caused by parasites that could enter the bloodstream.
“Prevention is the main key,” says volunteer Luz Gomez. “Wash your hands often, especially before you eat or wipe your eyes. Also, wipe down the tables in the morning at the Medcaps, just to make sure.”
The three students, along with volunteer Darci Niestroy also participated in Helping Babies Breathe education. Using fake pumpable babies and hand-held breathing apparatuses the class is structured to teach women in the communities that the CP11 medical team visits how to resuscitate newborns and how to teach others the techniques. Another NGO onboard, The Latter Day Saints organization, donated about 100 sets of the simulation system. Instructors leave several kits behind, along with instructional books, in each community where they provide the education.
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