The primary goal of a STIMMA mission is to provide free medical services to the communities we visit. Our team members work hard on each and every mission to make sure that we help as many people as possible. Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Dentists, Hygienists, Lab Technicians, Pharmacists, support people and most importantly translators are all vital to the success of a medical trip. Typically, over the course of a ten day clinic we would treat over one thousand patients. Patients travel from neighboring communities. Many travel by foot for 5-6 hours only to wait 8 hours before our medical team assesses them. No one is denied care. Patients who we are unable to facilitate are provided with the support needed to get the attention they require. Nurses triage and assess the patients and those that need to, are then seen by the Physicians.
Our pharmacists prescribe and dispense free medications for both acute and chronic conditions for the most common diseases in the community. STIMMA strictly adheres to all guidelines and norms practiced by local physicians. Pharmacy services are supplied free of charge. Medications for both acute and chronic conditions are prescribed and dispensed. Prior to starting up any clinic STIMMA researches common disease states and treatment protocols in the community. STIMMA follows guidelines and norms practiced by local physicians. Patients attending the clinic are provided with a supply of multivitamins to help with their general well being. People attending the clinic are also treated for parasitic infections which is commonly seen in these communities. Medication for pinworms is administered to each patient ON SITE by the pharmacist. When a patient receives their medication they are provided detailed counseling by the pharmacist (with the assistance of a translator) on the proper use of medication. Side effects and medication expectations are also explained to the patients. Every effort is made to ensure that the patients medication needs are fulfilled. Due to the high incidents of parasitic infections, malnutrition and Anemia many patients are treated with adequate supplies of vitamins and medication for pinworms.
Education plays a large part of STIMMA’s objectives while abroad. We want to ensure that the people we help are able to help themselves once we are gone. We provide free health education and prevention information to each and every community we visit.
"The only weapon needed to fight war, poverty, and oppression is education." Dr Vijay Anand
Education is a big part of STIMMA’s objective. Part of our goal is to develop and promote public health in developing nations by educating, and instructing the public on prevention of and curative measures for health problems. While in the Clinic, all patients partake in mandatory educational seminars. We have created presentations tailored to the Spanish speaking community. The sessions include instruction on dental care, stressing proper hand washing techniques, diet, Diabetes foot care and care of general ailments. Everyone from the age of 5 and onwards participate in the hands on presentations.
STIMMA provides free basic eye care to the communities that we visit. Simple items such as sunglasses, hats, or eyeglasses can make a world of difference to the men and women who are exposed to the elements while working in fields. Vision should never be taken for granted. We are so fortunate to be in a community where we have access to sunglasses, hats, eyeglasses and optometrists. In many developing nations, men and women are often working in fields and braving the elements. Most patients present with dry irritated eyes that can be easily prevented and treated with the use of sunglasses or simple eye drops. We provide eye care services for these patients. The eyeglasses we take with us are donated by the generous community of Southwestern Ontario. We take over 300-400 glasses each trip and fall short each time.
Our group also provides free dental hygeine classes to each person who visits our clinic. We may provide extra dental services depending on whether or not we have a dentist in our group of physicians. Contact us if you know a dentist who is willing to donate their time to our cause. Dental services are provided depending on availability of qualified personnel. Dental hygeine classes are provided and it is essential that all individuals who visit the Clinic attend this teaching session. The hygeine program addresses proper tooth brushing techniques and the stresses the importance of proper oral health. Dental Teams typically assess the status of the patients oral health. Appropriate oral rinses and medications are prescribed as necessary. Typically extractions are performed. In some communities, fluoride treatments are also done. This varies depending on the clinic set up and the type of follow up care that communities can provide after STIMMA’s departure.
STIMMA held its first ever Food Distribution in Haiti in May 2011. The team worked hard one night packaging numerous bags of rice and beans. The team, in merely 2 hours, bagged enough food for just over 600 families. Teamwork at it's best! On Sunday afternoon, the Haitians lined up and the team gave each family rice, beans, water and oil that would feed an average family for 4 weeks. The day was an eye opening day for the team as we were able to truly appreciate the extent of poverty and devastation in the area. The people lined up for hours to get their food, and many stayed after the distribution was over to see if there was any food left. We tried to make sure no one went home empty handed, and everywhere on site you could see STIMMA team members sharing their lunch and other treats with the locals. A truly heart wrenching day filled with smiles, tears and new friends.
We don't stop with just providing education and free services, we also visit local schools and community centers and provide free care packages such as school supplies or soccer balls. Visiting schools and local centers is an important part of providing ongoing support. Education is extremely important and essential to the success and growth of a community. Care packages for school are donated including school supplies and soccer balls to encourage physical activity. STIMMA is grateful for the support local communities provide while abroad. We rely on local individuals to help with translations, transportation, registration, relaying information about the clinic to neighbouring communities and helping to manage the general flow of the Clinic. Some communities are in a growth phase and require assistance to get projects off the ground. Ideas are brainstormed and funds are provided to get the project started.
Follow up is essential to ensure funds are being properly utilized and to ensure things are moving forward. Ongoing communication after returning home is just as important as the care provided in the clinics.
Recently, STIMMA joined forces with ASALCA (Salvadorian Canadian Association) to sponsor a group of children to complete their schooling. The team was able to give $4000USD to allow these children the ability to attend school. The cost of sending one child to elementary school is $60-70, secondary school is around $250, and post secondary is $300. This included the cost of their housing, uniform, books and supplies. The goal of supporting these children in rural El Salvador is to help rebuild communities that were devastated by civil unrest in the 1990’s and the tragic earthquake of 2001. For a complete look at the selection criteria and for more information on the Education program please visit www.asalca.ca