Mission Honduras LeMars

January 2015 Medical / Dental Team

 On 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

After 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, February 1.

This 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 Foundation.

On 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

During 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 do it.
                               ~ 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 Marta Sosa.

Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life's deepest joy: true fulfillment.
                         ~ Anthony Robbins

Richard 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.” 

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 do it.
                   ~ Marianne Williamson

 

To read about past missions click the buttons below

   

Med Mission 12

Med Mission 11

Contact Us
 Mission Honduras LeMars
 709 Plymouth St. NE
 Le Mars, IA  51031
Phone: 712-540-3062
Fax:     712-546-9384
Email:  rseivert2@yahoo.com