In a Town Far, Far Away…

by Danielle Bohonos

Thursday was not the most exciting day at Group 1’s clinic site. The town we visited that day was extremely far into the mountains – I swear we must have passed about 3 or 4 towns after we turned off the main highway onto the small dirt road before we finally stopped. I was scheduled to observe the pharmacy and gynecology stations, so after setting up in the school’s field, I took one of four seats set up behind a table full of medications, and waited for our first patients to wander up.

Pharmacy seemed like an easy job. However, I am sure that in my head I am simplifying the tasks way too much – I’m sure there is more to a pharmacist’s job than just reading the prescription off the paper and counting the correct amount of milligrams of medication. What I did take away from this station, in conjunction with my time spent with Omar the doctor, was a greater understanding of what certain medications achieve. After observing Omar, I had learned certain medications which were commonly prescribed for stomach pain, the neutralization of stomach acid, parasites, and general aches and pains; I could then match a symptom or problem in my mind with the correct medication in the pharmacy. While I didn’t find this station to be the most exciting, I understand the importance of having a knowledgeable person providing this service to a community.

Finally, I switched to the Gynecology station. I had been waiting for this station for the entirety of the clinic, largely because I entered the week thinking that if I were to pursue a career in medicine I might enjoy working in Obstetrics and Gynecology. At shift change, I headed to the obstetrics location only to be told there weren’t enough people at the clinic so we would be closing early. Not quite the experience that I had wanted, but it is understandable. The majority of the villagers leave their homes by 6 am to work in the fields, and as Alberto (our supervisor) explained to us, certain villages may not take advantage of the medical care the first time we come. However, next time a clinic visits the area, we hope more people in the community will recognize it and utilize this great opportunity.

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