January 2015 Medical / Dental Team
Sunday, January 25th, seventeen health care professionals from
Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota, embarked on the 10th medical / dental
team mission into Honduras, the second poorest country in the western
hemisphere. Combined with Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras, which sends at
least one high school team to Honduras each year, the medical / dental team
was joined in Honduras by many of our closest Honduran associates to carry
out this difficult but rewarding experience. In total, 199 doctors,
dentists, nurses, pharmacists, translators, and general medical helpers have
traveled to Honduras in these past ten trips as part of the Mission Honduras
LeMars / Gehlen Mission Honduras Medical Team program. Over the years the
Gehlen program has also sent ‘nineteen’ high school teams, ‘five’ university
teams, and ‘three’ other Midwest groups. The high school student team from
Gehlen Catholic that will travel to Honduras this March will be the 36th
trip sponsored, in part or full, by the Mission Honduras LeMars / Gehlen
program. With the high school team this coming March the program will have
placed 797 missionaries on the ground in Honduras.
||This trip made me realize how blessed I am to
have the opportunities that I do and how grateful I am for my
home, job, and country. How easy it is to forget when we are not
confronted with the poor and disadvantaged on a daily basis. So
thankful I was a part of this great team. God bless you all.
~ C. Hardy
The entire law is summed up in a single
command, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
~ Galatians 5:14
arriving at the airport in Tegucigalpa on Sunday, January 25th,
this years medical / dental brigade traveled to Nueva Capital, an area in
the mountains high above the capital city. Nueva Capital got its name
following the devastating Hurricane Mitch that literally destroyed a big
part of the county in late October and early November, 1998. The tens of
thousands of people who settled in the mountains high above the city did so
to escape the devastation and danger below. It is estimated there are
125,000 people who live in Nueva Capital. The team settled in to a major
school in the area known as Santa Teresa de Jesus. It is operated by the
ACOES Foundation and administered by Fr. Patricio Larossa, a Spanish
missionary priest. Approximately 2,000 children attend school at Santa
Teresa each day. This years medical / dental team began work on Monday,
January 26th, and each day thereafter for the remainder of the
week. At the conclusion of this year’s trip the team left Nueva Capital and
spent one day in Tegucigalpa before departing for back home on Sunday,
year’s medical brigade was composed of Francis Seivert, Elkton, South
Dakota; Gary Carlton, Richard Hettinger, Claudia Hardy, Martha Burchard,
Stacie Strehlow, Tom Morgan, Fr. Jerome Cosgrove, all of Sioux City, Iowa;
Diana Rann, Merrill, Iowa; Ashok Kewalramani, Dakota Dunes, SD; Tom Benzoni,
Urbandale, Iowa; Tim De Stigter, Aurelia, Iowa; Fr. Paul Kelly, Denison,
Iowa; Carol Cooper and Kelly Cooper, Rapid City, SD; Natasha Broom, Spencer,
Iowa; Krystal McBride, Moville, Iowa; and Jeanie Hohenstein, Jackson, NE.
The primary Hondurans who helped carry out the medical team’s work were:
Julio Rivera, Marta Sosa and her children, Sofia, Andrea, Roberto, and
Regina; Olga, Ondina, Anna, Freddie, and a host of others. They were cooks,
drivers, translators, and medical personnel. The Hondurans who assisted came
mainly from two organizations: The Cerro de Plata Foundation, and The ACOES
coming into clinic each patient received piperazine and mebendazole for
parasites and worms, all children age 5 or younger were weighed and
measured, and this was followed by an examination by our nurses. Throughout
each day they triaged those who were the sickest to the front of the line
to be seen by one of our doctors as fast as possible. Each patient that
came to clinic, along with receiving their prescribed medicines, also
received toothpaste, a toothbrush, and vitamins to take with them.
The most acceptable service of God is doing good to man.
~ Benjamin Franklin
|We talked about her (Honduran woman) life to
now. We talked of many things. But mainly we talked of living.
And, on leaving, she gave us both a hug. She said she felt
better. And I felt I'd been paid a fortune.
~ T. Benzoni
the five day mission our doctors, nurses, and dentists saw 1859 patients.
The medical patients seen totaled 1579 while our two dentists saw 280
patients and extracted 480 teeth. 22.4% of all medical patients were age 5
or younger. 44.9% were 6 to 10 years of age, and 32.7% were age 11 and
older. Of the 280 patients seen by our dentists, 3.6% were age 5 or younger,
50% were age 6 to 10 years of age, and 47% were age 11 and older. We
obtained data from the first day only on the number of children with
malnutrition. Of the total number of 66 children seen on day one, age 5 or
younger, 26% showed signs of malnutrition. 47% showed medium results on WHO
(World Health Organizations) growth standards, and 27% had positive results.
Some of the major health issues
encountered and treated during this five day medical clinic included:
malnutrition and under nutrition; fevers, diarrhea, parasites, funguses,
hypertension, asthma and other pulmonary problems requiring nebulizer
treatments, pneumonia, urinary and vaginal problems, infections, skin
diseases, head, body, feet, dehydration, scabies, lice, many pregnant women,
much diabetes, some lacerations, eye, ear and throat problems, post
neurology systems from Chikungunya fever, maybe lingering problems due to
dengue, and cough and colds. We saw a large number of teenage pregnancies.
In every community there is work to be done. In every nation
there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to
~ Marianne Williamson
||I am still in amazement of what the Mission
Honduras LeMars personnel have accomplished over the years, teaching us all that a
few good people can make a difference. I am so thankful to have
met more of God’s people while in Honduras.
~ J. Hohenstein
We attempted to do a study of height and
weight on all kids under age 5 to compare to WHO standards to help assess
malnutrition or under nutrition or stunting. MUAC measurements were also
taken on many patients between 6 months and age 5. We only did this for 1
day. All kids 2 yrs to 6 yrs were weighed to determine the correct dose of
parasite medicine. We also had women complaining of being battered - these
we referred. Many patients had problems that needed to be referred to
Hospital Esquela - from heart problems to breathing and other problems.
The dental problem at the school, especially
with the younger kids, was terrible. Our two dentists and two dental
assistants, aided by translators, extracted 480 teeth in this 5 day clinic.
Many patients needing care could not be seen during this mission. These
were referred to area dentists if possible.
||Imagine coming to your first day of school,
but instead of having class you go to a clinic where you receive
deworming medication and tooth extractions. Although this may
not be our idea of a good first day, the children attending
Santa Teresa school could not have been more excited!
~ C. Cooper
In a typical year, Mission Honduras LeMars
obtains free medicine from four different humanitarian agencies to be used
during international medical mission trips like this. This year we were able
to get all of our medicine from MAP International, Brunswick, Georgia, and
purchased the rest from Family Pharmacy, Le Mars, Iowa. Much thanks to MAP
and those at Family Pharmacy.
Another highlight of the trip occurred on
Saturday morning when the team had left Nueva Capital by bus at the
conclusion of their week long medical mission. The team stopped at the Cerro
de Plata Foundation in Tegucigalpa to help unload a container of food and
supplies that had been shipped in the middle of December by ‘Then Feed Just
One’. On this container, the 5th of the year for the ‘Then Feed
Just One organization’, LeMars, Iowa, were 204,000 meals, clothes, shoes,
school supplies, school books, and a host of other items. A very special
part of this shipment were 9 prostheses that were donated by the ‘Limbs for
Life’ organization in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Mission Honduras LeMars.
Each of the prosthesis were fitted for each of the recipients prior to their
being shipped. There were many happy smiles when the 9 prostheses were
delivered to those patients at San Felipe Hospital by Francis Seivert and
Only those who have learned
the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life's
deepest joy: true fulfillment.
~ Anthony Robbins
Seivert, director of Mission Honduras LeMars, said, “ I always have high
praise for the medical professionals and translators on our teams. They take
vacation time during their busy year to go work for the poor of Honduras.
That says a great deal about them as people. I am always pleased with the
results because I know they have made a small difference in the lives of so
many. I only wish we could do more.”