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Why Honduras?

What:
IMAF supported otolaryngology (ENT) medical/surgical and pulmonary/respiratory, OB/GYN and other medical missions provide necessary medical and surgical care within these specialties to the indigent population in the state of Olancho, Honduras. Such care is simply unavailable to most, and for those fortunate few who can afford it, they must often wait to receive treatment and travel 3 or more hours to the capital of Honduras (Tegucigalpa). Practically, this prevents most of the indigent population from having an opportunity to obtain the necessary care. The ENT surgeries include Thyroidectomy, Salivary gland surgery, Otologic surgery (tympanoplasty and mastoidectomy and myringotomy withtube insertion), neck mass excision (including congenital masses), Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy, as well as Nasal and Sinus procedures.  Audiologists and pathologists also participate from time to time. As funding allows and as more facilities are made available to us we will organize other specialty and mixed specialty missions.

Where:
Catacamus and Juticalpa, Olancha, Honduras

When:
Presently there are four brigades that go to Juticalpa every year, three in the spring (ENT, Pulmonary/Allergy and OB/GYN) and one in the fall (ENT). The next three brigades will to to Honduras in February and March.  The ENT brigades typically see 350-400 patients in a small clinic and perform upwards of 70 surgeries.  We have recently added a cleft lip/palette specialist who can perform three or four such surgeries during one mission trip.  The pulmonary brigade typically sees and treats roughly 700 patients.

Who:
The ENT brigades are organized by the medical faculty of St. Louis University but also include members of the faculty at Washington University as well as community physicians. We also take anesthesiologists, nurses, audiologists and advanced nurse practitioners.

The pulmonary/allergy brigade is organized by the medical faculty of Washington University and includes community physicians, respiratory therapists, nurses, and advanced nurse practitioners. In recent years, other medical specialists have joined this brigade to broaden the range of care to include cardiology, neurology, OB/GYN and urology.

Each team is complete to allow us to triage, evaluate, and treat medically or surgically as many people as possible. All physicians pay their own way and take vacation time to go, but we attempt to help financially the nurses and audiologists as they are taking vacation time as well and they are necessary to complete the teams.

Why:
Most members of the medical profession have a strong desire to help those who have little or no access to medical and surgical care. We continue to do so daily in this country despite the transformation of medical care with our new managed care system. We now have significant increases in the area of malpractice and an increased demand to see many more patients every day. These factors make it more difficult to continue to provide care to the indigent population here at home, but that care is available every day.

Fueled by our desire to help the indigent and recognizing the critical global health needs, many have traveled to foreign soils to teach physicians and provide care to the indigent of the world. While we provide care to many people we also get a lot in return in the sincere gratitude of our patients.

Another goal is to better equip the physicians and clinics in the areas that we serve. This means acquiring by donation or purchasing medical supplies and equipment to take to the physicians who work every day with poorly equipped facilities.

We are very fortunate to live in the United States being blessed with many things. As good stewards, we must share our time and talents with those less fortunate. This provides a way for those who do not have the desire, time or talents to give by providing financial help to send these medical teams.

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