Last week we joined Janet Reynoso, MEDLIFE Community Coordinator, on some visits to potential new MEDLIFE patients. Janet has been working closely with MEDLIFE for the past two years as a Community Coordinator. She is well known around the area and within MEDLIFE as you really cannot miss her! She is never seen without her microphone. Janet uses the microphone while walking around neighbourhoods, to attract as much attention as possible, informing everyone about MEDLIFE and encourages them to visit a mobile clinic.
Janet is incredibly dedicated to improving the lives of those in her community. When the mobile clinics are not running she continues to work hard to find those who are most in need of help and support. She explains to us that the most extreme cases of poverty are found at the tops of the hills, where the residents have to navigate impossible hillsides and will be living without running water and often no electricity. However, that is not to say that the residents lower down the hillside, who may have slightly more desirable living situations, do not also need help.
That is the case for Melissa DÃaz. She lives with nine other family members in a bigger than your average home at the bottom of the hillside. Janet tells us that although others may be envious of their lifestyle, Melissa and her family are in desperate need of MEDLIFE’s support. Melissa is 15 years old and has Scoliosis; a medical condition that means ones spine is curved into the shape of an S. She is in constant pain and not able to do many activities other than go to school, and even that is sometimes too much. Sitting at her desk all day is extremely uncomfortable for her. Within the hour we were at her home she stayed very quite, letting her grandma do all the talking. Although Melissa had an operation scheduled last year, the recent doctor’s strikes have meant she has had to reschedule it a number of times and still continues to wait.
After meeting Melissa for the first time and assessing the family’s socioeconomic position, MEDLIFE have created a plan to do all they can to help the situation. The first step is of course to ensure the operation date is set. The most efficient way of doing this is to use MEDLIFE connections to find a doctor and specialist who can take on the case, which our coordinators are currently working on. The insurance Melissa has will help cover the cost of the operation, however that will not include the cost of the post operation rehabilitation necessary for Melissa to make a full recovery. Therefore, once the operation has happened, MEDLIFE will cover the cost for the rehabilitation, as well as accompanying Melissa to the appointments to ensure the care she is getting is the best.
Though there is still progress to be made, there is now hope for Melissa and her family that in the near future she can live a more carefree and confortable life.