Today we had our first work day in Red Bank and Independence. The dental clinic was up and running by 9 am and nursing students were venturing out into the community to get to know the villagers. Because the U of L dental clinic has been coming to Belize for many years it functions like a well oiled machine. Nursing students helped Dr. Jones and Dr. Daugherty triage patients while dental students manned the stations. They were assisted by students from each discipline and worked together to help nearly 50 villagers with various dental issues. They encountered a few minor bumps in the form of anxious kids and complex dental problems, but in the end were able to provide a major service to the village of Red Bank.
Upon entering the village, Dr. Nash and Lauren Rollins, a graduate student from U of L studying public health, went in search of the village's water source. The main well was dug in 1979, which was also the last time the water was tested. Today Lauren and Dr. Nash were able to obtain samples of the well to test for various pathogens. Lauren and Dr. Nash also tested the areas in the creek where villagers wash clothes and bathe. After collecting these samples, students went into the villagers' homes to discuss basic illnesses, such as fever and diarrhea, and how to recognize and treat them. Using a survey tool, we were able to collect information on sanitation, hygiene, and attitudes and knowledge regarding these health problems. We then left the families with a small kit of medical supplies to help treat minor illnesses.
By the end of our first work day many of us were left with life long memories and experiences that truly opened our eyes to how the rest of the world lives. We are all so motivated to continue learning from the Belizean culture and help them in any way we can. I'm looking forward to more new experiences throughout the week... check back with us to follow our adventure!
Buenas noches, from Belize!
-Emily Wright, nursing
-Lauren Rollins, nursing/MPH