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.