January 16, 2018 3:05 pm

MEET THE PATIENT: GERALDINE FLORES

Written by Rosali Vela

It was Geraldine's aunt who first reached out to MEDLIFE. Her niece was still struggling with a rectal prolapse she had endured from the young age of three months old. Upon discovering Geraldine was now hospitalized from the worsening condition, she began to seek help

Geraldine was living with her mother in Piura at the time, approximately 717 miles away from Peru's capital of Lima. Meanwhile her aunt was desperately searching for a way to bring her sister and niece to Lima, where doctors specializing in gastroenterology would be able to provide quality treatment. The aunt found Carlos Benavides, MEDLIFE's director of MED Programs in Lima, and urgently arrived to his doorstep. She explained what brought her to his home and Carlos reassured her that he would do everything he could to help improve Geraldine's circumstances.

Carlos and the MED Programs team got Geraldine a tomography to verify she needed treatment in Lima and assisted with her transfer from Piura. At two years old, Geraldine is currently too young to undergo the surgery and instead, has been completing an alternative treatment for the past three months, which could potentially take up to three years. MEDLIFE is currently assisting Geraldine and her family with the medicine; thankfully she is showing great signs of improvement.

Thanks to our MED Programs team and the continued support from Chapters and donors across the world, MEDLIFE is able to assist those that would otherwise lack access to vital services in health care, education and development.

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IMG 6126Geraldine with her mother.

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.

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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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.

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