On Friday, May 30th, 2014, 16 kindergarten students and 18 first graders celebrated the end of another successful school year. A group of preschool students also finished their English training in preparation of joining the bilingual school next year. This was done outside their regular preschool schedules and was a parent-led effort.
A team from the Ministry of Education came to visit the school with the objective of considering the Good Shepherd Bilingual School to be the model school for the entire country. Negotiations between Shoulder to Shoulder, AMFI (Regional Association of Municipalities/Mayors) and the Ministry of Education are ongoing. We are very optimistic that we will reach an agreement soon.
Regional officers from the Ministry of Education officially evaluated the school. They stated they were very pleased with the school’s overall performance, progress of the children and organizational structure. Additionally, a small group of students had the opportunity to meet with the Minster of Education. They impressed him with their ability to speak English.
We have begun estimating cost and collecting materials for the construction of two additional classrooms as we anticipate expanding the number of students and grades taught.
Finally, we were sad to say goodbye to our long-term American volunteer, Andrew Call. He has been a loved and respected addition to the bilingual school and Camasca community. Another long-term volunteer will take his place this August.
On behalf of the parents, children, teachers, and local committee of the Bilingual project, we want to express our sincere gratitude to all donors, members of the Good Shepherd Church, and especially our distinguished Deacon Mark Westendorf for the gesture of solidarity and love for the less fortunate in Honduras. We have no words with which to thank you. We really appreciate everything you have done. You all have a special place in our hearts.
Shoulder to Shoulder Education Director
Mayor of Camasca
Prof. Luis Hernan serves as a role model to Las Marias teens.
Professor Luis Hernan, principal of the primary school in Las Marias, Santa Lucia, has taken on a big project both in size and importance: hosting a teen club for those in his community. Here in Honduras, school is only compulsory through sixth grade, and even then many children in Las Marias and throughout Intibucá leave early, or never even begin their education.
Following sixth grade, some students continue to high school. In communities like Las Marias, which struggle with poverty and substance abuse, many students cannot afford further schooling. Children – and their families – opt instead to begin working fulltime or seek opportunities in larger cities. For these adolescents that do not continue to colegio, or high school, they have no outlet beyond working in the fields or performing house duties.
Prof. Luis offers a safe and constructive environment for the older children to grow and mature. His group, which ranges between 12 and 25 adolescents, meet at their old school to play soccer, learn computer skills and basic English. In the coming months, they plan to host a fair in the town. This allows the children to learn how to plan, budget, write proposals, and speak in front of large groups. The group doesn’t have any funding to do things like go swimming in the river of the nearby town or even buy craft supplies. Profe Luis also adds that he would love to be able to buy a few instruments and start a band.
Las Marias is a high-risk community with a high incidence of drug and alcohol problems as well as many pregnancies at very young ages. Profe Luis says that the group is good for support. “The students may not be talking about their issues on these Friday afternoons, but at least they know that they have people they can go to when they need help”. He is very proud of his teens and misses no opportunity to remind them of this. “So often they get forgotten about, but they are our future. How could I not want to help them?” And help them, he has.
If you would like to contribute to helping Profe Luis and his teen club in Las Marias, please contact us.
Dra. Idalia Ramos repairs man’s teeth after he visits an unqualified dentist
Dra. Idalia Ramos, Shoulder to Shoulder’s Director of the Dental Department, has seen her fair share of bad teeth. One recent patient illustrates one of the major stumbling blocks of dental health in the frontera.
Hoping to correct the gap between his two front teeth, a twenty-six year old man from the small town of San Miguelito paid an unlicensed Concepción dentist to fix the gap. The dentist inserted a false acrylic tooth behind his two already-existing teeth. By the time the young man arrived at our clinic, he was in severe pain.
After Dra. Idalia and her assistant Lesly finished with their normal patients, they spent two afternoons working to reverse and correct the unlicensed dentist’s work. In the first session, the team removed his acrylic tooth and disinfected the damaged area. The next day, they inserted resin filling to repair and close the gap between his two front teeth. The simple procedure was a complete success, and the patient was overjoyed to have two normal front teeth again.
Dra. Idalia, Dra. Floricia Amaya, and their assistant see pediatric and adult patients like this every day. Their department is 100% funded by donors like you. To learn more about the program, please visit our dental page.
We would like to take this opportunity to introduce and thank Mike Sallarole, one of Shoulder to Shoulder’s long-term volunteers. He recently left Guachipilincito, where he has been an integral part of the community since last November. During his six month experience, he helped the Brown University-sponsored Guachi clinic and addressed the community’s health needs.
Mike worked with community leaders on the local comité to help garner support to allow Guachi to join Shoulder to Shoulder’s Honduran Ministry of Health contract, providing much-needed medical supplies and pay for a full-time nurse. Mike’s sense of humor and flexibility was a terrific asset in welcoming and assisting four brigades throughout his volunteer work in the frontera.
Mike’s says his most enduring memory of working in the frontera will be his interactions with Guachi’s children. “The whole community was great but the kids were the best part. The kids are so enthusiastic and so innocent. They are always so happy to see you. Also the food wasn’t bad either. I love baleadas.” During his time with Shoulder to Shoulder, Mike spent his free time playing on the local soccer team, which allowed him to integrate into the community. “When I first arrived”, he said, “I hardly knew anyone and everyone was pretty shy but it was great to see the transformation of the community. Now I have so many great friends in Guachi. It is really going to be hard to say bye to all of them.”
Mike is leaving Guachi and is headed for San Francisco to do medical research while he applies for medical school, hoping to graduate with the class of 2019. His experience and work in Guachi reinforced his dream to go to medical school. He would now like to specialize and work with underserved populations. “There’s a lot of need in this world,” he said after reflecting upon Latin America.
Shoulder to Shoulder thanks Mike for his hard work in Guachipilincito and wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors!
Howling cries, accompanied by the occasionally menacing looking dog – or pack of dogs – leaves an indelible mark on many visitors to Latin America and throughout the third world. Walking through any Intibucá aldea
, or village, one invariably encounters many dogs wandering or lounging about town.
While extremely uncommon, dog bites occasionally occur. From a public health standpoint, the possibility of disease, infection, and even rabies poses a risk to the health and safety of the people in our communities. For the last several years, Shoulder to Shoulder’s health promoters have tirelessly vaccinated thousands of dogs against rabies. Since 2007, rabies-reported cases have been completely eliminated.
In March, health promoters from all of Shoulder to Shoulder’s covered municipalities worked with community members to vaccinate dogs. In six communities in San Antonio, Santa Lucia and Magdalena we vaccinated 3,148 dogs. In Concepción, we vaccinated 2,249 dogs. In San Marcos de la Sierra, we vaccinated 2,346 dogs. In total, we vaccinated a 7,743 dogs, meeting and exceeding Ministry of Health requirements.
We would not have been able to accomplish any of this without the hard work for all of our health promoters, who are our first point of contact in the communities, building relationships and educating Intibucans on all areas of public health. We look forward to continuing collaborating with our communities and our health promoters. If you would like to learn more about our health promoters and their diverse role, please visit our website
This spring, Shoulder to Shoulder welcomed two fantastic brigades to Intibucá: the joint brigade of University of Minnesota/Universidad Nacional Autonoma Honduras and the University of Wyoming.
The joint University of Minnesota/Universidad Nacional Autonoma Honduras brigade represents Shoulder to Shoulder’s ongoing commitment to developing local Honduran talent and expertise. The small brigade was comprised of ten nursing students: five each from the United States and Honduras. The group stayed and worked together in Santa Lucia for nearly two weeks. They focused on screening, prevention, and education. Hypertension and diabetes is a growing issue in the frontera as populations shift their work and transportation habits and are increasingly exposed to processed foods. With help from Shoulder to Shoulder health professionals (physicians, nurses, and health promoters), the students hosted a health fair in Magdalena where they screened for high blood pressure and performed role playing sketches about the effects of not taking medicine for our hypertensive patients.
At the local Santa Lucia high school, the joint brigade worked diligently to interview almost 200 students regarding diet, exercise, emotional health, sexual health, and drugs and alcohol use. Based on the information learned at this health screening, the brigade referred students for further tests for high blood pressure, women’s health issues, and emotional health problems. We consider their work in the health screenings a huge success and we plan to use their model again with other groups of teens.
The University of Wyoming returned to their Agua Salada clinic, continuing their close work with the local community. The team consisted of one nurse, three family medicine doctors, and ten nursing students. Over the course of a week, the team provided consults to 800 patients, averaging 200 a day over four days of consultation. In addition to providing consultations, the group visited local schools and met with students. University of Wyoming is looking to expand their long-standing support of low-resource students, including assisting with the purchase of school uniforms and supplies along with academic scholarships.
This Wyoming brigade also included Dr. Larry Foianini, DDS. The addition of a skilled dentist on this brigade allowed over 100 patients to receive dental examinations and receive care.
During their visit, the team screened a women whose routine pap examination returned an abnormal result. They referred her to Shoulder to Shoulder’s Concepción clinic, who drove her to the regional hospital in La Esperanza. There, the abnormal result confirmed cervical cancer. We hope the early detection and intervention will allow her to receive the care she needs for a speedy and complete recovery.
Thank you again to all of our visiting medical and professional brigades. Your dedication to working shoulder to shoulder with our Honduran medical teams furthers our ability to deliver quality medical care to our Intibucá communities. We look forward to having you back early and often!
|Recent Statistics for CMI Santa Lucia and CMI Concepción (May-June 2014)
33: Total obstetric emergencies attended
16: Total emergencies attended
46: Total births attended
Ages of New Mothers
Of the twenty-one obstetric emergencies in May, twelve of the women were from Concepcion and nine were from Santa Lucia. Two of the patients took personal transportation but all twenty-one of them were transferred to the hospital in La Esperanza. Overall, there were twenty-eight people sent to the hospital
in May- twenty from Concepcion and eight from Santa Lucia.
The health statistics for June were very promising. In the CMI, we had 27 births this month, which is more than any other month this year. We highly over-exceeded our goal of the number of condoms to give out. This is only the second time this year that we have accomplished this and this month, we gave out almost 1000 more than last month. Additionally, we doubled our goal of Depo-Provera injections and placed one more IUD than our goal.
In the remaining clinics, we saw 3,594 patients which is more than any other months this year and we greatly exceed our goals for home visits and EAPs teams visits. While we still fall short in the number of prenatal visits and consumption of contraceptive methods, we are not falling behind in comparison to other months.
There were two deaths this month: one in el Almendro, Las Delicias of pneumonia who died on the way to the hospital and the other from Las Cuevitas, Jiquinlaca of a congenital heart problem.
Statistics for Cesamo Magdalena, Cesamo San Antonio, Cesar San José, Cesar Santa Teresa, Cesamo Santa Lucia, Cesar Santa Rita, Cesamo Concepción, Cesar Guajinquil, Cesar Jiquinlaca, Cesamo San Marcos Sierra, Cesar Las Delicias:
2935: Total patients seen
382: Total prenatal visits
277: Total home visits
235: Families visited by EAPs (Equipos de Atención Primaria)
0: Maternal deaths
1: Infant deaths. Infant was 4 months old being cared for by his grandmother, as both parents were in the U.S. The Las Marias infant died of severe dehydration.
April and May marked Honduras' annual national vaccination campaign in all five municipalities. All vaccines were provided free of charge. We vaccinated all children under 5, all at age 11 (tetanus), and all pregnant women (tetanus). Additional vaccines were SRP- Rubella, Mumps, Measles; rotavirus; Sabin; Tetanus; Vitamin A (to prevent eye cancer); and DPT at 18months and 4 years.
1346: Vaccines administered in Santa Lucia, San Antonio and Magdalena in a two week period.
1342: Vaccines administered in San Marcos de la Sierra and Concepcion municipalities in the same period.
Bilingual School Update
As our bilingual school continues to grow and enjoy success, local and national officials are taking notice. Read more.
Profesor Luis' Mission
For years, Prof. Luis Hernan has mentored adolescents of Las Marias. The primary school principal has a deep connection to these kids. Read his story in this issue.
Our health promoters wear many hats. They serve as our first line of communication with our communities, educating children and adults. They test water for mosquitos and water-borne parasites, and they mass vaccinate people and animals alike. Read about their dog vaccination campaign here.
Dra. Idalia Ramos often has to correct the dangerous and ineffective work of non-licensed dentists people in the frontera historically visit due to lack of dental access and education. Read her story here.
348: Total patients attended
$1,605: Fees collected
1: School visited
306: Total patients attended
$1,371: Fees collected
4: Schools visited
Guachi Says Goodbye to Volunteer Sellarole
Long-term volunteer Mike Sellarole bids a fond farewell to the staff and community of Guachipilincito. Read about the clinic and his work here.
Brigades are a wonderful and regular presence in the frontera. Earlier this spring, we welcomed brigades from the University of Wyoming and a combined brigade from University of Minnesota and Universidad Nacional Autonoma Honduras. Read highlights from their visits here.
Volunteer Mike Sellarole speaks with a local Guachipilincito man.
Yo Puedo teachers meet and discuss the program.
The May brigade from University of Rochester. The University of Rochester group did a fantastic job, seeing 93
patients in their medical clinic and 4 home visits.
Their dental clinic was also very successful, seeing 109 patients and extracting 128 teeth. Seeing patients isn’t the only thing this group of 12 did.
The long-running program has many public health projects, including a water project near Las Delicias, cook stoves, pilas, and fish farms.
They also have financed over 90 microloans ranging from 500- 4,500 Lempira since May 2008 and are currently sponsoring 27 students in their scholarship program.
University of Rochester brigade members meet with local patients.
Operations Expenses (May)
$395: Vehicle Maintenance
$204: Building Cleaning
$155: Weekend Vigilantes (security)
Parteras (midwives) discuss patients and learn prenatal and childbirth techniques at the Concepción clinic.
Local mayors meet to discuss how they can support Shoulder to Shoulder's public health programs.
Why Your Donation Matters
Every dollar you give makes a difference. Our clinics - even the accessible ones - are located at the end of service lines, four hours from the nearest gas station and eight hours from the nearest medical supplier. The tenuous electricity and telecommunications grids experience near daily outages during the rainy season, requiring us to run diesel generators to provide power to our dental clinics, our labor and delivery rooms, and for patient consultations. We use and abuse our trucks and motorcycles when sending our health promoters and EAP home health teams into the campo to provide rural healthcare and bring patients to our clinics. All of our regular expenses are compounded by our remote locations.
Your donation allows Dr. Rubén Martínez to take a woman in high-risk labor to the La Esperanza hospital four hours away. It puts gas in Milton Villanueva's motorcycle so he can check in on an 89- year-old homebound patient who lives two hours off the only major road. Your donation keeps our lights on when it is raining, there is no power, and a boy has badly cut himself with a machete while harvesting corn.
Ways to donate:
· Donate through our website and review all of the ways to contribute.
· Send a tax-deductible contribution to our accounting firm at:
Shoulder to Shoulder
Pohlman & Talmage CPAs
3445 S. Dixie Dr. #200
Dayton, OH 45439
· Provide a scholarship for a local student.
· Donate Spanish-language medical textbooks or journals for our physicians.
· Travel on a brigade or volunteer with us.
· Shop Amazon via our website and Shoulder to Shoulder receives up to 6% of your purchase at no cost to you.
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