Text by Sally Schuhmacher, Fara Foundation contributor
Photos by Shermakaye Bass, Fara Foundation editor
Clinic update, from June 2013
We are very excited to share with our friends and supporters that, as of June 2013, Fara Clinic has treated more than 15,000 patients! This shows that word has definitely gotten out about the good works of the Fara Foundation in the Northern region of Nicaragua. Since our last update, the foundation joined forces in a new partnership with Global Partners of Gundersen Lutheran Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin. (In November of 2012, Global Partners sponsored an information-sharing symposium with the local medical community. )
One of their doctors, Dr. Richard Strauss, gave a training seminar at the clinic on “Helping Babies Breathe (HBB).” HBB is an educational program to teach neonatal resuscitation techniques in resource-limited areas. Dr. Strauss returned in June to teach others the same procedure and to teach them how to train others; as the training team grows, the ultimate goal is to have a HBB birth attendant present at every birth, regardless of the site.
In February 2013, our friends at Global Partners in Wisconsin returned to Matagalpa, wearing their scrubs, ready for procedures and training. A podiatry group, headed by Dr. Bradley Abicht of Global Partners, returned to our clinic and performed 13 foot surgeries and trained our clinic staff to do follow-ups. Our medical personnel regularly emails pictures of the patients in Nicaragua to the doctors in Wisconsin to show the podiatrist group how the patients are healing.
We have also expanded into breast cancer awareness, prevention and detection. This is extremely rewarding for the Foundation and for our clinic, and the addition represents an expansion in our goals — which ultimately is to save lives and improve health care and quality of life in Nicaragua.
In support of our breast cancer work, Global Partner physician and radiologist Dr. Mark Nigogosyan visited Fara Clinic earlier this year to conduct training sessions with Fara Clinic personnel and other area doctors on how to administer breast ultrasound and needle biopsies. He returned to Fara Clinic in June (blog on the June 2013 mission to come) for more training.
A very generous donation by Global Partners was of a brand new colposcope, which magnifies the appearance of the cervical and vaginal area. If a pap smear comes back abnormal, this can be extremely helpful in treating cervical cancer.
Also during our February medical mission, our beloved friend Dr. Steven Reeder of Dallas returned to the clinic, with his family providing the usual top-notch support. He is a cardiovascular surgeon and he invited Dr. Eduardo Toledo de Aguiar of Brazil to come. This was Dr. Reeder’s fifth trip to Matagalpa to do varicose vein surgery and the first visit for Dr. Aguiar and his assistant and wife Rita. All found it to be a very rewarding trip. The same could be said for the other vein doctors who have come to Fara Clinic over the past two years. Different doctors have different approaches on how to treat varicose veins, and each doctor feels like he or she learns a lot from his or her professional colleagues.
Alongside the visiting doctors, we have Nicaraguan doctors who are becoming experts in the different varicose vein treatments. Varicose vein doctors are in very high demand in the northern Nicaragua area; at the present time we have more than 700 people on our waiting list for procedures.
Our heartfelt gratitude to our friends at Global Partners from La Crosse, to Dr. Steven Reeder and his family, to Dr. and Mrs. Aguiar, all of whom came to alleviate the pains of the Nicaraguan laborers. We couldn’t do it without you!