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Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro

Posted By: Marty

Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/05/12 01:17 PM


Dermatology, Dental and General Medical services

A team of 11 medical professionals and teenage volunteers were on San Pedro Town providing free dermatology, dental and general medical services at the Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic II as part of the Partners of Belize with team leader Dr. John Kirby. The team from Ohio, USA arrived in the country on Thursday July 26th and worked on Friday from 1PM – 5PM, Saturday 8AM to Noon, and on Monday and Tuesday from 8AM through 5PM, offering their services free of cost to the entire public of Ambergris Caye.

Working in Dental, the team of six was led by Dr. Gordon Womack, children’s specialist from Dayton Ohio. His team included dental technicians; Maureen Ryan and Michelle Brooks; dental assistant Michelle Johnson; office manager Leryn Fuller and assistant office manager Nicky Thomas. By Tuesday afternoon, the team had seen over 130 patients and offered various services including cleaning, treatment, fillings and extractions among other dental services.

Other specialists included Dr. Wayne Bauman, dermatologist from Cincinnati Ohio; Dr. Magda Kerschner, pain specialist doctor of anesthesiology also from Cincinnati, where she has a pain clinic for those with chronic pain issues.

The team brought with them medications, vitamins, tooth pastes, tooth brushes and other medical supplies which were issued to patients with the surplus being donated to the Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic II. Speaking of his first working trip to the island, Dr. Womack stated, “We are here to take care of any needs that the community has from a dental standpoint. We’ve been doing a lot of cleanings, extracting teeth and fillings. We loved our visit here on the island. Once the work is done, I plan on taking the team snorkeling and fishing so that we can get a chance to enjoy what the island has to offer.”

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun

Posted By: BZ4me

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/05/12 04:09 PM

Thank you so much for your service to our future home. I hope you will consider returning next year.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/05/12 04:43 PM

Nice service for Ambergris Caye. Just think of the need in some of the villages on the mainland that have no doctors or dentists. Of course the snorkeling and fishing is limited there also.
Posted By: ed50

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/07/12 01:20 PM

do they partner with anyone locally (the clinic?) so that if there is an aftercare problem (with extractions etc) there is somewhere for people to get help after they leave?
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/07/12 02:25 PM

The other question is do they take business from local practitioners who invest tons of money in their education and committ to living in Belize? It is fine balance between volunteering and diverting
Posted By: cracked up

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/07/12 02:39 PM

Probably plenty of business to go around, with dental anyway!!
Posted By: dabunk

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/07/12 07:43 PM

We have been assisting a dental team for the last few years who have been coming to the Toledo district for over 15 years now from the Slidell, Louisiana area called, Dos Amigos. They go to the far villages where no one else goes. These are some dedicated men and women to come year after year. There is a huge need and this team does extractions as well because the need is so great. My hat off to all these folks who come and volunteer to help those who cannot help themselves. Keep up the good work!!
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/07/12 07:58 PM

That is great. My compliments to those doing that kind of work. It would be nice if the ones coming to Isla Bonita would also take the time to do some work in other areas. Donating time in places that have no doctors or dentists deserves more praise, IMO, than just visiting the most popular tourist destination and enjoying what it has to offer.
Posted By: E&T

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/08/12 04:15 AM

Warren, you reallly have no clue, do you. As part of the group of physicians and dentist ( approx, 40 people ) that come down every October for the last 15+ years, let me assure you it is not for a "tax-free vacation". While we're there for only one week, the personal cost to each is a couple of thousand dollars. For this we work 6 of the 7 days and get 1 day off to enjoy the island. Usually that day is spent at one of the schools trying to educate the students and teachers. While we have clinics on Ambergris and Caye Caulker, we have groups thast travel to the mainland and visit the remote villages including Valley of Peace, Orange walk area and down south. We've been coming to Ambergris since before there was a full-time dentist here. The reason we base out of this "tourist destination" is it has the only facilities to handle our group so that we may all stay together for logistics. Tropic Air is kind enough to give us a break on tickets (all at our own expense) so that we can quickly get to all parts of the country. Part of our group even stayed for hurricane Mitch so we might be able to help the Belize health system if there was a major catastrophy. So thats what us free vacationers do. How bout you?
Posted By: Loansum-Al K

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/08/12 04:40 AM

Originally Posted by bywarren
That is great. My compliments to those doing that kind of work. It would be nice if the ones coming to Isla Bonita would also take the time to do some work in other areas. Donating time in places that have no doctors or dentists deserves more praise, IMO, than just visiting the most popular tourist destination and enjoying what it has to offer.

There are so many groups of volanteers that come to Belize and spend perhapts more time on the mainland then on any of the Cayes.......wake up!!
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/08/12 01:07 PM

E&T: It would be helpful if the reporting mentioned the work you and others do for the less fortunate on the mainland. There is a perception, probably accurate, that AC receives more than its fair share of economic and charitable benefits than other parts of Belize. This can arguably account for the reluctance to return to AC more of the monies that it generates in taxes for the needs of AC.
All acts of giving to those in need are commendable. Some require more of a sacrifice than others.

And, Loansum-Al K, if you don't understand that this kind of limited reporting leaving out the work done in other parts of Belize can be a negative for AC, then you need to "wake up".

And, you are right E&T, based on the reporting I have no clue on what you or others do for other people of Belize.
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/09/12 01:34 AM

I get so upset when the people who are promoting " good deeds" get so nasty so fast. It is a fair question to ask if the volunteers take away from our local practitioners. Sounds like in dentistry, they are an addition. Belize needs to begin to make choices about what services we need volunteers to provide and not develop policies because a particular group wishes to be here.
I am sure that everyone in this group is well meaning, totally board cerified and carries liability if anything goes wrong. But I have seen other situations where that is not true and local care providers are left cleaning up.
So who supervises, who certifies, and who makes sure that cultural differences are respected! Fair question so hold the fire
Posted By: Tim Callanan

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/09/12 01:54 AM

Thanks to all the selfless volunteers, we love ya !
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/09/12 02:41 AM

[quote=pamkillen]I get so upset when the people who are promoting " good deeds" get so nasty so fast. [/quote

Excellent points, Pam.
Being solely defensive of ones actions without considering the potential unintended consequences could be considered narcissistic.
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/09/12 02:46 AM

Or not making the effort to look at a wider frame of understanding when the welfare of others might be at risk.
I like to think that we all have enquiring minds and function within systems that allow for open minded discussion leading to greater knowledge and understanding.
I asked the question because I am truly and simply interested in the answer. But one forgets!
Posted By: ed50

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/10/12 01:41 PM

" Mission trips" as some of them are, provoke many hard questions
1. Was there a need by poor people back home in their own community for these type services to be provided (that is, was this just a fun trip for the team, or should they do the same thing back home first) . My city had a free dental day and 1200 people showed up.

2. were they invited/sponsored into the "host" country by someone/some local medical organization. Some countries, Chile I have been told, dont like some of these type trips unless they are sponsored by a local group. If they just show up, and have self selected the "locals" they will work on, how do locals view them or accept them if the local medical organizations dont know them ?

3. were the people properly trained and certified for what they are doing, who checks on this? (or do you get want- to- be -docs and summer students doing medical things (practice) that are illegal back home but are somehow OK in another country). US had problems like this on the Katrina hurricane cleanup around new orleans.

4. do they sterilize their equipment properly, and how- are they taking short cuts here? what equipment is used? do they off load steam sterilizer autoclaves at the airport? Thats the standard of care now. Not boiling on a stove in a pan of water etc. why? infection, HIV, hepatitis etc etc

5. do they not "push' any religion or products

6. is aftercare provided (your tooth extraction gets infected but the team is gone, what do you do?)

7. is there time for the team to be briefed on the country's culture and history during their visit to prevent comments like "no I dont know much about the place , we were only there 4 days, and the food was bad, they eat only beans and rice (someone told me this about Peru once!!!!!) " (probably not applicable to vacation spots like AC).

Hard questions but I think they are legitimate ones.
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/10/12 03:55 PM

very legitimate questions - !!
Posted By: dabunk

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/10/12 04:20 PM

And just as legitimate is next time the team is around volunteer your services to help and ask them!!!
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/10/12 05:52 PM

Ed50 thank you for the really thoughtful post.
Dabunk, many of us spend quite a bit of time volunteering throughout Belize. I think that's why we know to ask questions.
Posted By: dabunk

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/11/12 08:15 PM

This is the group we work with, I was wrong, 25 years of missions in Toledo Belize

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dos-Amigos-Dental-Medical-Mission/119691944753671
Posted By: ed50

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/12/12 02:28 PM

Wonder how just for talking purposes, a "reverse" mission trip would work?
Say a few Belezian doctors and teenage volunteers etc (hope spelling is correct) decide to go to say Detroit, or better, N Y City (it has tourist sites,) and conduct a free 4 day clinic on say 123 street. Wonder what the reaction would be?

Would they be asked about their credentials and would they need to have a (US issued or recognized) license to practice medicine? Would the health department be concerned about how their infection control is done?
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/13/12 12:22 AM

Very true. Thanks for the important point ed 50.
The recent volunteers may be the best group in the world and I am very thankful for the work that is being done but my primary question is; does the work take clients away from practitioners that have paid good money to attend school and come back here to invest in the country on a full time basis.And are available for follow up. Or is the work done coordinated with local dentists and doctors?
When volunteers came 25 years ago, there were often no local people doing the work and now there is.
Also, does your group differentiate between true need and people who just want free care? If I offer a service and a person can afford to may but chooses free care instead, what are the ethical considerations in that.
Please don't jump me for asking, I really am interested
Posted By: lovey and thurston

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/13/12 02:21 AM

We have done surgery teams in 4 different countries over the past 20 yrs. Organizations such as Medical Missions Int. And Drs. Without Borders do require all team members to supply their credentials. We have found they do a good job of coordinating with the local medical communities when possible. In the case of surgery that is pretty much essential. Not aware of any screening process based on "need", but from our experience most patients would not be able to afford the care without the help of outside volunteer groups.
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: Partners of Belize Medical services to San Pedro - 08/13/12 03:02 PM

Thanks for post. I also know the group World Pediatric Group and they are fantastic. They work through a local group and have follow up in place as well as the capacity for emergency transfer to the states as needed. They are also supported by local docs as they bring and share expertise.
Another favorite volunteer group is Kim Shackelford from Old Miss and her work in San Mateo.
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