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Filtering by Category: Global health

Latrines - why?

Mission Lazarus

According to UNICEF, "Around the world, poor sanitation remains a major threat to development, impacting countries’ progress in health, education, gender equity, and social and economic development. Globally, 1.2 billion, almost a fifth of the world’s population, practice open defecation.  Open defecation and its public health, social and economic impacts, can create a vicious cycle of illness, high expenditure on health care, lost work and school hours, and poverty."

Our Latrine Initiative has constructed household latrines in conjunction with basic hygiene teaching in a number of communities.  Every latrine built is part of a larger community goal to achieve total sanitation and 100% containment of feces.  

A community where every family has a latrine or toilet decreases the transmission of intestinal parasites, which, especially for children, improves nutrition, decreases school absences, and increases academic success.  

Whenever church presence can be the stimulus of community development, it reveals itself as an authentic partner in the improvement of quality of life for individuals and families.  And that is something to smile about, don't you think?

What aspects of documentation is the medical volunteer responsible for?

Mission Lazarus

All our charting is currently on paper, though we are considering an upgrade to digital medical records in the near future.  Each volunteer who renders services is responsible for his own documentation and is limited to providing services to only those patients with whom they can competently record their services in the indicated language in the respective chart. 

What keeps people from seeking health care services?

Mission Lazarus

There are so many factors:  

  • Poverty

  • Lack of Knowledge (of signs and symptoms of illness)

  • Lack of Economic resources

  • Lack of Transportation

  • Poor infrastructure

  • Inequity of Access

  • Lack of resources within the health care system (no medicines!)

  • Stigma of disease

  • Fatalism/Helplessness/Hopelessness

  • Inadequate number of health care centers

  • Inadequate training of health care providers.

What does the Haitian national health care system look like?

Mission Lazarus

"Haiti reports some of the world’s worst health indicators, which continue to inhibit the country’s development. Haiti has struggled with poor health outcomes for generations, the health system was further debilitated by the 2010 earthquake, which demolished 50 health centers, part of Haiti’s primary teaching hospital, and the Ministry of Health. Only a few months later, Haiti’s health care network was further strained by the country’s first cholera outbreak in a century. In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, significant challenges remain to increase access to and utilization of improved water and sanitation services that are key to improving health and well-being."

Further, according to the same USAID Health fact sheet, the key challenges to health improvement are: 

A weak health system: Roughly 40 percent of the population lack access to essential health and nutrition services; only 45 percent of all children (12-23 months) are fully vaccinated and 22 percent of children under 5 years old are stunted.

Funding environment: Government spending for health is low and only represents 6 percent of all government expenditure for the country. There is still heavy reliance on international funding to provide Haitians access to health care services.

Human resources for health: Attracting and retaining qualified health professionals is a chronic struggle, with as few as six health professionals per 10,000 people.

Health infrastructure: The destruction created by the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew exacerbated an existing lack of adequate health infrastructure, such as health care and storage facilities, as well as access to electricity, clean water and sanitation systems.

What does the Honduran national health care system look like?

Mission Lazarus

The national health care system in Honduras is primarily composed of primary care services at the local level, specifically made up of 1048 rural health care centers (often with only an attending auxiliary nurse), 349 health care centers (with an attending physician), 61 child-maternal health centers, 16 area hospitals, 14 Dental Schools, 6 regional hospitals, 6 national hospitals, and 59 other support clinics. 

What impact do medical volunteers have on health outcomes?

Mission Lazarus

Mission Lazarus coordinates volunteer medical services in order to provide continuity of services to its mission employees, their families, program beneficiaries, and church members, which comprise more than 1,000 individuals, as well as to actualize public health projects in communities without public access to health services.  These services help to collect information about the general morbidity of underserved communities and refers individuals back to our ongoing clinical services.  It also casts a wide net which screens for chronic conditions as well as refers previously undiagnosed or unusual medical conditions back to the mission for follow up.

What purpose does the medical volunteer serve?

Mission Lazarus

Mission Lazarus utilizes individual medical volunteers to perform medical services which serve the community and/or meet the health needs of mission program recipients or employees of Mission Lazarus. 

As Galatians 6:10 states, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Mission Lazarus believes that the fundamental responsibilities of the health care provider are to promote health, facilitate healing, and alleviate suffering while preserving the respect for life, dignity, and the rights of all persons. The prime objective of the health care provider is to render competent medical service with compassion and respect for human dignity.  While serving with Mission Lazarus, each medical volunteer is expected to provide the same level of care, confidentiality, and privacy that one would in any other professional clinical setting.

Who qualifies as a medical volunteer?

Mission Lazarus

An individual qualifies as a medical volunteer if he/she:

  • Holds a current professional license in medicine, dentistry, ophthalmology, optometry, nursing, physical/occupational/speech therapy, or pharmacy.

  • Is a student in the above health disciplines with at least two clinical rotations of experience.