by Claire Pitstick, Clinic and Reforzamiento volunteer
The last few weeks have been full of excitement for the UPAVIM clinic! Business has been booming at the pharmacy, thanks in part to a generous donation from the First United Methodist Church of Downers Grove, Illinois. Over the last ten years, FUMC has had an “hermanamiento” connection with UPAVIM through Sister Parish, Inc. (Sister Churches). The clinic staff and volunteers used the donated funds to purchase hundreds of medications and first aid supplies. In the past, the pharmacy shelves were mostly empty, and the inventory was disorganized. To improve the pharmacy’s efficiency, volunteers Elena and Claire helped Nurse Johanna and Nurse Ingrid to create an inventory system on Microsoft Excel. This system will make it much easier to calculate profits and order medications before they run out.
Early Intervention and Growth Monitoring Program
In addition, the Peso y Talla (Weight and Height) program has been expanded to include screening for malnutrition, developmental delays, and disabilities in children from birth to five years old. Elena, a physical therapist from Ireland, offers weekly assessments for children from UPAVIM’s Centro Infantil (Children’s Center) and from the community. The new Early Intervention and Growth Monitoring Program also provides individual therapy, group therapy, and family education. Elena has begun training several of the UPAVIM women so that they can continue the program after she returns to Ireland. Several children with malnutrition and speech delays have already been identified. After teaching the parents about proper nutrition and speech exercises, improvements have already been seen in their children’s health and social interactions. Elena and the clinic committee recently applied for a community grant to support this fantastic program. If it is approved, they will be able to screen for and treat even more children, and with better equipment.
Another new project, Charlas de Salud Preventiva (Preventive Health Talks), aims to educate the La Esperanza community about easy changes they can make to prevent common diseases. These talks will be offered on Thursday afternoons to the UPAVIM women and on Friday mornings to the community. The first topic was respiratory infections, and future topics include gastrointestinal infections, skin problems, nutrition, exercise, and mosquito-transmitted diseases. Elena and Claire used some of the FUMC donation to print trifold handouts, which will be available in the pharmacy for anybody to take and read. Elena and Claire have organized both paper and electronic versions of the Charla resources so that the clinic staff and future volunteers can continue educating the community.
Thanks for reading about the new and exciting things happening at the UPAVIM clinic! We appreciate your support.