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Projects at Roosevelt Hospital, Guatemala City

Guatemala Log #1

On the first day of the 2014/15 Guatemala Winter institute we had an introductory morning briefing to talk about program details, safety guidelines, culture shock and logistics.

Later on that day we would proceed to Roosevelt Hospital in Guatemala City, one of the the largest hospitals in Guatemala.

As we arrived, Head of the biomedical engineering department at the hospital, Hector, showed as around and introduced us to several different projects that the EWH engineering team could work on during our three weeks.

The following is a list of the projects we found on the first day at the hospital:

1) 14 Dialysis Machines: In the basement of the hospital we found about 14 dialysis machines out of order. If can put these back into service it will be vital to find and teach a technician at the hospital about the machines as they require continuous maintenance. See picture in the gallery below.

2) 7 vital signs monitors: These machines actually work perfectly (according the emergency department staff) but the cables are destroyed. We are looking into getting a hold of all the cables from the emergency department so that we can find out if we can fix them.

3) The baby bottle project: The baby bottle cleaner of the hospital is broken. 1500 babies need to be fed everyday there are 45 different recipes for the baby food depending on the state of the babies. For example prematurely born babies are prescribed more oily food. Thus the department staff must manually clean 1500 bottles a day. They don’t have any proper substitute tools and it gets really difficult to clean the baby bottles. See pictures in the gallery below.

4) Tortilla machine (kitchen): This machine is working but the tortillas are sticking to each other and one side was burned more than the other. Sometimes the tortillas are cut in half. In effect a lot of dough is wasted. See picture in the gallery below.

5) Bread oven (kitchen): Issues with the temperature regulation.

6) The outside yard with broken medical equipment: Most of the equipment has been outside in the rain and it has become rusty.  It is likely though that there are several valualble spare parts in the “junk yard”.  See pictures in the gallery below.

Additionally a pre-trip equipment assessment was made by biomedical Joe Leier who is assisting EWH 2014/15 Winter Institute. 

7) Three additional vital signs monitors.

8) Seven suction pumps.

9) Three defibrilators were found, condition onknown.

10) Five Electrocardiographs.

For now we will start working on projects 1, 2  and 4. I will follow the progress of the projects here on this site. Stay tuned!

AHCN #10 – Bhattechaur and Sisne Views

After a 14 hour walk we had finally arrived in Bhattechaur, the furthest village we would reach.

Before we would proceed to conduct our first health camp in the village, we went to an incredible view point from which we could see the Southern end of the Dhaulagiri mountain range, namely Sisne peak of 5911 metres, the highest point of Rukum.

This gallery contains photos of mountain side villages, the people of Bhattechaur and the mountain views. The gallery is one of my favourites; it really shows the true beauty of Nepal.

AHCN #9 – 14 hours Incredible Walk

After reaching Rukum on impossible roads, meeting with the Local Development Officer, visiting the Salle Bajjar/Musikot District Hospital where we experienced the harsh reality for the patients of Rukum, buying medication and receiving donations at the Chitwan Medical College Teaching Hospital we were finally ready to start are trek towards Sisne. On our trip this far we had seen amazing sceneries, however the best was still to come, as you can see in the gallery below.

One of our initial goals with AHCN was to reach an area that was as rural as possible, where we would document the health care situation. Rukum is not a frequently visited are by tourists and in effect it was virtually impossible to find out how long it would take to reach a given village prior to our departure. Due to a limited budget we only had one day to walk and we wanted to reach all the way to Sisne. While we did not manage to reach Sisne village it self (at the foot of Sisne peak), we did reach the village of Bhattechaur, which is located in the Sisne Village Development Committee region.

We suspected on the way, that we would have a long walk ahead of us. The locals had told that Bhattechaur took a full day to reach. We quickly found out however, that a distance which would take a local a day too reach may very well take two days for a city folks. Finally we ended up walking 14 hours to reach our goal before we, with soar feet and aching legs, reached Bhattechaur and had the best portion of traditional Nepali food in our lives.