Screen_shot_2011-06-06_at_8.06.43_PMInternational Service Learning (ISL) is a non-governmental organization from the US which focuses on enlisting medical and educational volunteer teams to provide services to rural areas in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Africa. Every year various teams are assigned to Belize to provide assistance mainly in the area of medicine. Over the weekend one of those teams made up of medical students from various universities in the U.S. was dispatched to Yo Creek where they put their skills to practice. Our news team was there and filed the following report.

Yari Catzim- Reporting

14 medical students make up the third medical group brought by International Service Learning to visit our country this year. Denise Neal is the representative of International Service Learning in Belize. She told us that although these students are not doctors they still have much to contribute.

Denise Neal- International Service Learning

“We have a group of 12 students and they are from different parts of the Unites States. None of them are doctors they come in the country and we work with local doctors. We do General and paediatrics so we have two doctors that are offering general services like for diabetics, hypertensive cases and general like flu cough and cold and them we have the paediatrics that sees the kids.”

ISL has its headquarters in San Ignacio, and from that point the different groups are dispatched around the country - mostly in rural areas where they join the local doctors in carrying out health clinics.

Screen_shot_2011-06-06_at_8.07.42_PMDenise Neal- International Service Learning

“They come all through the year this is our third group for Orange Walk we are operating in San Ignacio that is our base we have been there for two years and now we have branch to Orange Walk and we hope to come back pretty soon. The way they assist is that they target people who are not able to go out to see the doctor, those who are less fortunate who may not have the funds to go see the doctor so we provide the medication and we try to target those people.”

Today the students have been tasked with gathering general information from patients - their pressure, weight, height and medical background. Being granted the opportunity to apply the practical to the theory they are studying is something they eagerly anticipate.

Nikkel Moham- Medical Student

“We wanted to basically take a lot of the learning that we have used over in our medical school and we wanted to apply it in a more clinical setting somewhere where we would actually see people who are actually sick and be able to sue our skills and seeing that international medicine is a pretty driving are we wanted to do something overseas as well.”

From the clinics conducted the students have observed the predominance of diabetes and high blood pressure, but there have also been many cases of respiratory problems and asthma observed.

Laura Lombardi- Medical Student

“I see a lot of problems with asthma, coughs diarrhoea, diabetes hypertension high blood pressure. For our first year of medical school we are mostly in the classroom we don’t get that much patient contact in here we get to do the whole interview, we get to do the physical exam and get to see what the doctor does with them and what treatment they give them and the diagnosis. We didn’t have a chance to that as yet so I think it is a very good experience.”

With 14 medical students and two local doctors the team hopes to tend to at least 50 patients today.

Screen_shot_2011-06-06_at_8.06.54_PMDenise Neal- International Service Learning

“We wish we could see more people usually we have to turn some back based on what is wrong with them we try to do some screening and take the worst cases like today we have so many people coming and we can’t see everybody so we ask them to be patient with us and we will come back and try to se more patients but the response is very good.”

Yari Catzim- Reporter

“Approximately how many people to you see per clinic?”

Denise Neal- International Service Learning

“Per clinic we see approximately 50 patients.”

Vitamins were also distributed to some of the patients.

During the next few days the students will continue visiting the rural areas in the district carrying out health clinics. Today they were at Trinidad Village where they will be stationed for the next few days.

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