MEDLIFE joins the fight against tuberculosis in Ecuador

Rosendo, Segundo, Gladys and Maria make up the group of patients who we met at Mobile Clinics in the community of La Merced del Canton Alausi in the Chimborazo province. These communities, about three and a half hours from the nearest city, Riobamba, are known for their isolation and cold temperatures.

tbMEDLIFE Doctor examining a possible TB patient (Photo by Martha Chicaiza)

The clinics took place in the community school, and the patients arrived and were diagnosed by MEDLIFE doctors. During the exam, doctors observed a great deal of phlegm and strange noises coming from their lungs, symptoms which could indicate tuberculosis. They immediately contacted the closest public health center to carry out further tests.

At the end of the clinic week, MEDLIFE Director of Ecuador Martha Chicaiza got in touch with the director of the team in charge of tuberculosis at the hospital of the province. She explained MEDLIFE’s work, and in addition to thanking her, the doctor asked that she be kept informed of future clinics there, to better diagnose and treat people with tuberculosis, as well as educate them about how dangerous the disease can be and how to prevent it.

The next day, Martha contacted the three patients who appear to be suffering from tuberculosis in order to make a plan to help them. Martha committed to helping them by coming with them to the hospital to orient them, and they agreed. But the day of the appointment none of them showed. Martha didn’t let that discourage her; she contacted the municipality of Alausi, and they provided a car, which she took along with the doctor in charge of the tuberculosis program to test these people. On the day to do the visit, the car never came, and again Martha was left without a plan. But luckily she and the doctor ran into the provincial director of Chimborazo, who offered to take them in her own car, and then provide another car so that they could visit the patients and take the tests.

The test was taken, and she also took the chance to return the results for the pap smears from the Mobile Clinic.

According to the World Health Organization, Ecuador has an incidence of almost 6,000 new cases of tuberculosis each year.

Thanks to our Mobile Clinics, working in the most remote communities in Ecuador, MEDLIFE has joined to the fight against this illness by including Sputum tests for tuberculosis diagnosis as part of the Mobile Clinic routine.

Today after remembering everything she had to go through to examine these patients, Martha is happy to say that the results are in, and none of the patients have tuberculosis. 



Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.