La Paz de Susan

Link here to La Paz de Susan, Sister Susan Dewitt's blog about working with PazSalud and living in El Salvador from 2009 through 2013.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Book Donation to Children of Cojutepeque

PazSalud recently had the opportunity to donate over 200 used Spanish children’s books to a small library in the community of La Esperanza; a poor community in Cojutepeque, El Salvador.  The library was founded by Maryknoll lay missioner Rick Dixon and offers the families in this dangerous neighborhood a safe place to read, check out books and do arts and crafts.  The children were very excited to receive the books and quickly had them unpacked and out on the tables.  It was fun to watch them examine the book covers and illustrations, read a little and decide which ones to take home.  Before long, there was a line-up of kids with books in hand, waiting to check them out.

PazSalud has worked in Cojutepeque's hospital several times so this is an excellent way for us to stay in touch with, and give back to, this community.  If you would like to donate Spanish children's/young adult's books that PazSalud can bring down to El Salvador, please contact Kathy Garcia.

Rick and Kathy at the Maryknoll children's library in Cojutepeque

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Water Filters for Comasagua

PazSalud is committed to improving the short-term and long-term health of every community we serve.  During our General Medical Missions in February our physicians 'prescribe' water filters to families suffering the effects of consuming El Salvador's contaminated water.  With this list of patients, PazSalud works with CIS' community water filter program to raise awareness of the vital link between clean water and public health and to train families on how to use the Sawyer water filter.
Since our patients come from communities surrounding Comasagua this year, in addition to the town of Comasagua itself, we hold training sessions for them in their nearest community center.  The pictures below depict various groups of patients from several communities who were trained on and received water filters.

PazSalud donates 100 water filters and buckets to every community that hosts our medical missions and we help them get into the hands of people who need them the most.

Luis from CIS training people how to use the water filter

Assembling the filter

PeaceHealth Donations to San Rafael Hospital

PazSalud loves to donate used or new medical supplies from PeaceHealth to the hospitals we work with in El Salvador whenever we have the opportunity.  Public hospitals here are severely undersupplied/underfunded so they greatly appreciate even the modest supplies we donate.  These extra resources enable them to extend their reach in caring for the poorest Salvadorans who use the public health services.

The director and senior staff from San Rafael Hospital with the PazSalud/PeaceHealth donations

1st Check-Up

Two weeks after their surgeries PazSalud brings every patient back into San Salvador for a check-up with a local ophthalmologist to ensure the surgery was successful and provide them with any additional medications and instructions they might need.  To ensure the best outcome possible, we also provide them a check-up six weeks after their initial surgery as well.  

A few patients needed reminders of the importance of using their eye drops as prescribed and others needed supplemental medications but overall everyone is right on track in their recovery process.

Dr. Jule examining a patient

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Eye Surgery Mission - 2016

Congratulations and thank you to everyone involved in making PazSalud's 2016 Eye Surgery Mission such a huge success!  We had another great volunteer team this year that enabled us to perform our most  procedures ever during a surgery mission.  In total, we were able to perform 61 surgeries on 56 patients and we may be providing surgery to some additional patients that we weren't able to help during the mission week.

Thank you to all our donors as well whose generous gifts allow us to ensure that our very needy patients receive the resources and care required for successful outcomes at no cost to them.  Your help is invaluable and we couldn't do our work without you.

Dr. Jule performing a cataract surgery

One of our many happy patients

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Special Order Glasses for Comasagua Patients - 2016

Of all the services we provide during PazSalud’s General Medical Mission, one of our most tangible and rewarding happens in our optometry department.  Our team of doctors and technicians identify patients who have highly specialized and complicated prescriptions that we cannot fill from the supply of donated glasses that we bring to the mission.  These patients are given prescriptions, they select frames, and then our optometry volunteers take them back to the U.S. and have lenses specially made for each patient.  Then I get the fun job of delivering them; many who are receiving the correct glasses for the very first time in their lives.

A very special 'thank you' to Walman Optical who so generously made and donated the glasses and DeMeishah Warren from PeaceHealth Medical Group Eye Care whose determined efforts made it possible for our Comasagua patients to see the world like they never have before.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Eye Surgery Patient Meeting

We just finished up our second patient meeting for PazSalud's upcoming Eye Surgery Mission on May 14 and all our patients are ready to go!  We have a full roster of people selected from our General Medical Mission in Comasagua in February who will have either cataract or pterygium surgery so we're bringing down a full team of ophthalmologists, optometrists and support personnel to operate on roughly 65 patients in a nearby hospital in Santa Tecla.

Given the nature of this mission and seriousness of surgery in general, PazSalud holds two patient information meetings where we talk to them in depth about the surgery itself, what it entails before, during and after, and the logistics of their participation.  The meetings are a great way for them to ask questions about the process and decide whether or not they want to have surgery with us.  In addition, they allow us to gauge the patient's interest which enables us to better prepare our team with adequate supplies and proper scheduling.

Kathy Garcia (Director of PazSalud), Delmy (the local CIS coordinator), Rosy and Rosa (PazSalud volunteers and friends) and I helped organize and conduct the meeting held in the community center of Comasagua.

Kathy Garcia and Rosa registering patients for the meeting

Rosy talking to the patients about surgery