Eduardo Solorzano recounts his experience in helping first-hand to coordinate a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic:
Coming on a Mobile Clinic, students have no idea about all the preliminary work that is required to coordinate the clinics. Weeks before the students arrive, consistent coordination with the community is essential in order to have a successful week of clinics. I had the opportunity to work with Carlos Benavides, Director of MEDLIFE Peru, during this organizational process in two different communities.
On June 11th, Carlos and I went to the municipality of Villa El Salvador where we met Catalino Gaspar, a government worker responsible for coordinating citizen participation and involvement in the district. He helped us schedule the logistics of delivering Pap Smear results to all of our clinic patients from one of these communities. After the meeting, we took the bus and headed to our first community of the day, AmpliaciÃ³n Oasis de Villa II. When we arrived at the location, I was surprised to see how organized the community was. After talking with Carlos, I learned that the residents of this community had built their own electrical system. Using nothing but wire and wooden poles, they had successfully connected every house to their improvised electricity grid. The community has also organized a 24-hour security patrol of the immediate area and constructed gates to ensure safety for its residents. After walking for a few blocks, we met Carmen Lozada, the community leader of Oasis de Villa II. We handed her the pamphlets advertising the Mobile Clinic MEDLIFE was realizing the following Monday.
Since the next community was not too far away, it only took a short moto-taxi ride to get to Nueva Era. Even though riding the moto-taxi was scary at times, it dropped us safely in the community. What’s special about this community is that it was established specifically for handicapped people, including community leader Marcos Romero, who is blind. Unfortunately, Marcos was not at home for the delivery of pamphlets. Instead, his secretary received all the information necessary to advertise the clinic happening the following Tuesday.
A Mobile Clinic would not be successful if it wasn’t for all the planning and efforts of Carlos Benavides. The next weekend, 36 participants arrived in Lima and helped attend to a total of 512 patients.