07 Dec Roatán Volunteers: Update
In August 2020, Blessings International sent an email calling for medical volunteers on behalf of one of our partners. Clinica Esperanza, a clinic based out of Roatán, Honduras, was seeing a rise in coronavirus cases on the island, and was preparing for a surge.
In response, Blessings International received dozens of inquiries from medical professionals who were interested in making the trip to serve at Clinica Esperanza’s COVID center. For many, after months under lock down, with no opportunities to serve in foreign medical missions, the chance to serve was a welcome invitation.
Due to requirements and schedules, many potential volunteers were unable to go to Honduras. However, Dennis Martin, MD, of Oklahoma, and Jaime Boyachek, RN, from Alabama, were both able to travel to the island and serve for two weeks.
Once there, Clinica Esperanza staff assigned Dr. Martin and Nurse Jaime to help within the clinic, covering for staff who were ill or serving in the COVID center, which was established at the beginning of September in a local church.
COVID-19 ON THE ISLAND
“We see over 100 out-patients daily,” clinic director, Peggy Stranges, said, “with five doctors, five nurses, a dentist, pharmacist, and two lab techs. Once we started seeing more COVID patients, we had to see them in the clinic.”
Though cases continue, those on the island are hopeful the case number curve is leveling out. At the peak, Clinica Esperanza had seventy-nine COVID patients.
“Most with a positive diagnosis had 2-5 day flu-like symptoms if given the medications as directed by the Ministry of Health for Honduras,” Peggy explained. “At first signs of the disease, we treat with a mouthwash [microdacyn], azithromycin, ivermectin, and zinc.” For anyone needing oxygen and hospitalization, there is a more extensive protocol. However, the “efforts and goals are to be proactive” in order to keep patients out of the hospital.
Peggy, who tested positive for COVID-19 in August, is a believer in the MAIZ method. “[T]he protocol works.”
“WE PLACED TWELVE ORDERS IN EIGHT MONTHS.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, Blessings International began offering free shipping on all exported orders to help get medicines to the regions where medical teams were no longer able to visit. As such, Clinica Esperanza was able to not only source the medications for the MAIZ protocol, but they were able to use the money they saved for urgent needs.
“Because the entire country was using the MAIZ protocol,” Peggy said, “medications were scarce in-country and we were able to purchase in large quantities and very short notice from Blessings.”
“We placed twelve orders in eight months,” she added. “Blessings has been a godsend in this whole pandemic.”
GOING ABOVE AND BEYONDDr. Martin and Nurse Jaime raised their hands high for the chance to serve, despite the personal risk and expense, and others have been blessed because of them.
“Both helped out immensely…” Peggy commented, “as we had an overload of patients since the public system was not seeing outpatients and several of our staff was also out with COVID and some were working at the COVID center.”
“The Esperanza clinic was a good experience,” Dr. Dennis Martin said. “[T]heir COVID center appeared to be doing a very remarkable job with what limited resources they had. I was truly impressed with those caring for the really sick people.”
“I…didn’t want to leave and wish I could have stayed longer,” Jaime said when asked about her experience. “This is one of my greatest loves and passions, and I’m always looking for opportunities where I can serve.”
Blessings International would like to thank everyone who responded to our email for volunteers. Even though circumstances and regulations may have prevented some from being able to volunteer in Roatán, the overwhelming positive response was an encouragement to all of us.
We are privileged to be connected and partnered with some of the most giving, caring people. We are honored to know you!