MDJunior Global Medical-Mentor Mission
Honduras - Thanksgiving 2014
Poly students Shuchi Sehgal, Erica Lee and Salma Kamal travelled to Honduras on a medical mission with the Medical Mentor Service Trip over Thanksgiving break. Through MDJunior, a medical service club whose Poly chapter was founded by junior Shuchi Sehgal, 18 high school students throughout the United States converged in Nuevo Paraiso, Honduras, to set up clinics and aid Hondurans in obtaining medicinal necessities.
In preparation for the trip, Poly’s MDJunior club held fundraisers throughout this school year and the second semester of last year.
Additionally, the club collected Advil and multivitamins and received monetary donations from families with which they bought medications.
Lee remarked, “ I feel blessed to be at a school where students, teachers, and parents have supported the club. They have gone out of their way to donate money and medications, which changed the lives of hundreds in Nuevo Paraiso and I can’t descibe how much it meant to me and the rest of the team.”
The students’ makeshift medical clinics, which were lined-up desks from classrooms on the grass outdoors, provided essential services for the locals. MDJunior members saw Hondurans and measured their vitals such as pulse and temperature. After ascertaining the patient’s symptoms, the students would then send him or her to a station with doctors who gave checkups. Subsequently, appropriate medications, labelled by the students, were prescribed accordingly.
As a part of the medical services, the Hondurans were sent to charlas, meaning “little chat” in Spanish, where high school Spanish-speaking translators communicated the correct usage and handling of the medications that were apportioned. In addition, they taught the locals the processes of washing their hands correctly and informed them of basic heart problems as hypertension and high blood pressure.
For the second half of the trip, students manually mixed concrete and layed floors in several houses of the locals, which would reduce the probability of spreading diseases through contact with the external environment. In addition, they conducted surveys for the World Health Organization that analyzed the hygienic habits of the Hondurans, such as how often children washed their hands and brushed their teeth.
The students participating held debriefings at the end of each day in which they reflected upon their experiences working in the rural Nuevo Paraiso. Working in an area that is largely unindustrialized and living in facilities lacking air conditioning and solid infrastructure, the students felt the significance of their service to the locals.
On her role in serving in Honduras, Sehgal reflected “one pack of Advil to us is just another medication on the shelves of the store, but to the Hondurans it was something that they had never had access to before. Spending 5 days in a situation where I was constantly surrounded by people who valued every small thing I and the rest of the team did made me realize how much help people need. I felt very fulfilled every time the locals would smile and thank me because I knew what may be nothing to me, was life changing for them.”