As part of our post-clinic activities, our staff last week went to visit four patients in Lima who we met during our mobile clinics. Luckily, these patients are already being treated in the Peruvian health system SIS. Although they did not require economic support from MEDLIFE, they did however, require tools to be able to access their treatment and therefore access a better quality of life.

Another one of our visits was to a PRONOEI (public kindergarten) located in Villa Maria del Triunfo. Said kindergarten informed us that they needed a new roof since the one they currently have was very dangerous for the children.

We invite you to see the following photo blog to know more about our beneficiaries of the week:

 DearOur first stop was at the PRONOEI (public kindergarten) at Las Lomas community where the local teaches requested materials to build a new roof to protect the children from the sun and the rain. They were so thankful that they made an amazing poster for our organization! The poster reads: Thank you for support MEDLIFE. Community Las Lomas.

IMG 4734The second stop was at the house of Delfina, an 81-year-old lady who is the grandmother of our follow-up patient Ian. Ian was born with congenital auricular atresia -- a birth defect that left her with only a partially developed ear on one side, and a small vestigial structure on her cheek, so he is following a long treatment with us. Delfina has hip dysplasia and arthritis, and her daughter, Ian's mom, is unable of transport her outside the house on her own. A wheelchair will allow Delfina to go easily to her therapies and medical appointments.

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IMG 4741We met Saturnina in a Mobile Clinic. She is following a treatment at the local hospital for her Parkinson, low back pain, and osteoarthritis. She is currently only using a walking stick that causes too much pain. We got her a walker that will be of great help not only her safe transportation but also to offer a support for her body.

IMG 4751Our next patient was Marines. Her family situation is one of the most difficult ones we have had to encounter. Her family's economic situation is so difficult that her mom has followed us through several mobile clinics just to get some free iron vitamins for her daughter. Marines was diagnosed late with Leukemia due to a lack of medical attention in her natal Apurimac (one of the poorest regions in Peru). Due to this, her parents had to sell everything and emigrate to Lima to access her treatment. Before building themselves a house, her mom slept on the floors of the hospital for several weeks. Currently they live in a very precarious situation which has gradually improved thanks to the store they have managed to open in their remote community. We are currently giving Marines powdered milk to keep her Leukemia in check while she continues with her medical checkups. This powdered milk is very expensive in Peru, and it would be impossible for the Marines's family to buy it on their own. We are currently asking our volunteers to bring powdered milk when they come to mobile clinics while working in a more sustainable way to help Marines and their family get by.

IMG 4764Later we visited Norma, a 69-year-old grandmother who is following a treatment for her Parkinson and Osteoporosis. A wheelchair was delivered so her daughter can take her to the hospital more easily.

September 12, 2017 10:55 AM

Meet the Patient: Caroline (Moshi, Tanzania)

Written by Rosali Vela

Caroline is a six year old girl from Kilema-Moshi. We met Caroline in May 2017, while a MEDLIFE mobile clinic at her community.

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Caroline is a young and charming girl, who was diagnosed with Chronic Tonsillitis during her visit at the Mobile clinic. Due to her condition, she was then put into our follow-up patient program.

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The first home visit at Caroline’s place was on 11th August 2017 with Dr. Geofrey who is also our clinic doctor. The MEDLIFE team were able to talk to her together with her siblings.  

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The doctor recommended for possible surgery. An appointment at KCMC at ENT Department was made and Caroline was able to see the doctor on 18th August 2017. The doctor commented for a quick surgery as the tonsils were too big and give her discomfort especially at night. A second appointment was made on 21st August 2017 for admission, but it wasn’t successful since there were too many patients and our team couldn’t get a bed. They were told to come the following day 22nd August 2017, and finally they found a bed so she was admitted on that day. The next day, 23rd August in the afternoon, she was operated.

“We are happy the operation went so well. Since she didn’t have any complications, she was discharged from the hospital on 24th August.” Neema told us.

Caroline was very happy knowing she will be going back home to meet the rest of her family and be able to go back to school once again.

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What is the MEDLIFE patient follow-up program? When patients are simply referred to local hospitals for treatments many times they still fail to receive the actual treatment they need due to lack of resources, lack of confidence, or lack of a true understanding about their medical problems. For all of these reasons, MEDLIFE has developed a year-round patient follow-up process. We support our patients in many ways. We provide financial resources for treatments, emotional support, nutritional assistance for malnourished families, and educational resources to help individuals better understand their conditions.

August 8, 2017 12:13 PM

MEET THE PATIENT: Karol

Written by Aidan Wells
Jose Galvez is a district within the Municipality of Villa Maria del Triunfo in Lima, Peru. The district is well known as the home of the largest cement factory in Peru. To reach Karol's house required a trek which involved 3 buses, a walk along the highway across from the cement factory, and finally, a hike up the steep pathway to the house. There are no stairs, no paths, or guides on the way to Karol's front door, only the rocky hill that leaves you breathless...literally. 
 
From left to right: Rocía, Karol, and MEDLIFE Nurse Janet Ludeña pose for a photo in Karol´s home.From left to right: Rocía, Karol, and MEDLIFE Nurse Janet Ludeña pose for a photo in Karol's home.
 
The house is clean and tidy. Rocío, Karol's mother, has meticulously made sure that everything is in place, well-painted, and organized. The home is humble, but comfortable. There are many photos on the wall. All of them Karol. Karol is pictured dancing; she's pictured smiling. There's even a photo collage of her high school graduation. "She is my only daughter," says Rocío. 
 
Karol is 17 years old and currently studying Hospitality and Tourism. Her dream is to become a flight attendant. "I want to travel" she told us when we asked why she was studying Tourism. "I want to fly and get to know the world. I love nature and waterfalls. I definitely want to visit somewhere like that outside of Peru."
 
Rocía and Janet do an analysis of Karol's socioeconomic status during the very first patient follow-up visit. This helps determine which form of health insurance Karol qualifies for.Rocía and Janet do an analysis of Karol's socioeconomic status during the very first patient follow-up visit. This helps determine which form of health insurance Karol qualifies for.
 
When Karol was 10 years old she started presenting strange symptoms like shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and dizziness. Her family took her to the Bartolome Herrera Hospital where she was diagnosed with Arrhythmia, a disease that causes abnormal heart beats, either too fast or too slow. Basically, the electrical current was not running through Karol's heart properly.  She was given enough pills to last her two months, since mild arrhythmia does not typically require intensive treatment.
 
Eventually Karol improved and was able to lead a normal life, until two years ago, when she began showing symptoms again. This time, however, the symptoms were much stronger. Karol would need to rest up to 6 times just to climb the last hill up to her house, and sometimes her legs would stiffen up when walking. These new symptoms left Rocío very worried. 
 
Rocía, Karol, and Janet attend a specialist appointment at the doctor's office in Villa María del Triunfo.Rocía, Karol, and Janet attend a specialist appointment at the doctor's office in Villa María del Triunfo.
 
After another trip to the hospital, doctors told Karol that no arrhythmia was detected, and she would more specialized diagnostic tests that public health insurance would not cover. 
 
When Rocío heard about MEDLIFE's mobile clinics, she did not hesitate to get Karol the medical attention she needed. The MEDLIFE doctors immediately put Karol into the patient follow-up program for more personalized attention. Janet Ludeña, the MEDLIFE nurse assigned to the case, has since been able to provide not only counseling and support, but also accompany the family to Karol's appointments to try and determine what condition is affecting her. MEDLIFE was able to provide the funds for the specialized tests, and now, we are waiting for the final diagnosis. Regardless of whether the doctors find a diagnosis of arrhythmia or something else, MEDLIFE will not hesitate to accompany and support the family throughout the entire process.
 
Janet and Karol discuss her medical history during their second patient follow-up-visit.Janet and Karol discuss her medical history during their second patient follow-up-visit.
August 8, 2017 11:26 AM

Meet the Patient: Maria Borja

Written by Rosali Vela

mariaborjanono2We first met Maria Borja Nono, age 55, about a year ago when she attended a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic in the community of Shobol Pamba, Parroquia San Juan, del Cantón Riobamba in Ecuador. She was examined by our gynecologist and found to have a cystocele, a medical condition that occurs when the wall between a woman's bladder and her vagina is torn. This rupture most likely occured during the delivery of one of Maria's 13 children.

Although Ecuadorian laws call for free and universal access to healthcare, the country continues to experience high levels of maternal death and complications from childbirth. Many women from indigenous communities give birth in their houses, due either to the lack of transportation to surrounding hospitals or to the notion that hospitals provide culturally insensitive care.

According to CARE USA, indigenous women are accustomed to being surround by friends and family during childbirth and to giving birth in a vertical position --  customs that are not always allowed in country hospitals. As a result, women do not always know how to identify signs of maternal risk, nor how to seek out help for complications that occur from childbirth.“In all seriousness, I've been in need of having an operation for this problem for over 20 years now,” Maria tells us during our interview with her at her home in Riobamba. “I just could never afford it, especially having so many children to take care of.”mariaborjanono1A typical day for Maria consists of walking a distance of about three miles to and from work where she is a day laborer in a lime mine, coming home to take care of household chores and care for her elderly mother, staying up late to cook the family's meals for the following day, and getting a maximum of four to five hours of sleep per night.

Her husband also works in the mines and has a similarly stressful daily schedule.Once diagnosed at the Mobile Clinic, it was clear that Maria was going to need surgery, and financial assistance to cover the medical costs. Always punctual and cooperative, Maria had eight medical clinic appointments consisting of check-ups and further examinations. She was accompanied to each appointment by MEDLIFE follow-up coordinator, Maria Chavez.

“I met up with Miss Chavez and she helped me through the good and the bad,” Maria told us through tears during our interview. “She helped me. I give thanks to God for her help. Even when my own children couldn't be around because they were working far away, she was there up until the final days. Thank God that even today she is helping me, economically and emotionally.”Prior to her surgery, Maria's tests revealed several complications including vaginitis and possible bladder fistula (an abnormal connection between the bladder and the vagina) for which a cystography was performed. Currently, our patient is relieved of most of the pain and discomfort she had been experiencing and is regularly returning for medical examinations for further alteration of bladder muscles.

August 8, 2017 11:24 AM

Meet the Patient: Luis Soria

Written by Rosali Vela

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Luis Soria is a patient who came to us last spring during a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic in the community of Cecel San Antonio del Cantón Licto of Riobamba, Ecuador. During his consultation, one of our doctors diagnosed Luis with inguinal hernias. An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue pushes through a weak spot in your groin muscle. This causes a bulge in the groin or scrotum which may hurt or burn.

Doctors informed Luis that he was in need of an immediate surgery right on the spot. MEDLIFE staff proceeded to take him to the nearest hospital to get further medical examination and care. Doctors and the medical clinic confirmed that his condition was critical and he was prepped for surgery within a few hours.Luis admitted to us that he had felt discomfort for many years, especially while working long hours as a taxi driver and wore a back brace at all times. “I'm 47 years old and I've been suffering from this condition for over 10 years. I feel like a new man now thanks to the help this organization has provided me,” he shared.After several lab tests, including uro-analysis, hematology, serology, blood, ECG and echo cardiogram tests, doctors concluded that Luis had two hernias and decided to split the surgery into two procedures -- one on each side. The surgeries went well and Luis was told to spend 60 days recovering at home. Although it was difficult for him to wait that long to work again, he followed the doctor's orders and today he can enjoy life without the pain he had suffered from for so long.“Now I can work productively on my field and help out with family chores. I couldn't even walk around and enjoy my time with my family of three children and my beautiful wife. Now I have that opportunity and I am forever grateful for that,” he said with a smile.

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