204013 Multidisciplinary screening of an underserved Guatemalan population

Monday, November 9, 2009

Peter Russo, OD , Surgical Service/Ophthalmology, HInes VA Medical Center, Hines, IL
Eileen Gable, OD , Department of Ophthalmology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL
A team of 22 volunteers co-sponsored by the Wheaton AM and Antigua Rotary clubs conducted a four day medical mission at Good Samaritan Hospital in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. The main objective was to provide ophthalmic, hearing and dental services to indigenous Mayans with limited access to health care in this mountain town. The team consisted of 3 optometrists, 4 audiologists and 1 dentist along with support personnel. Vision and ocular health screenings were conducted to provide eyewear, diagnostic services, treatment with pharmaceuticals and referral for consultation when surgical care was warranted. Hearing services included ear cleaning, testing for hearing loss and fitting of hearing aids. Dental services were primarily aimed at removal of painful, decayed teeth. Services were provided at no cost to the patients. Over 500 vision screenings and over 200 hearing screenings were conducted. 100 dental patients were served. The vision patients ranged in age from 1 to 92 years old; two thirds were female. Acute problems managed included foreign body removal, bacterial conjunctivitis, and a case of orbital disease. Chronic problems included glaucoma, dry eye, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. 66 patients were referred for surgical care. A secondary goal of this mission was to build local contacts to establish a permanent ophthalmologic rotation. To this end, details concerning local housing, clinic space, equipment, and follow up care through the commitment of a local ophthalmologist were successfully addressed. The acute and chronic problems observed on this mission justify the need for ongoing access to eyecare in this remote area.

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the need for eyecare services among indigenous Mayans in remote areas of Guatemala. Describe a plan to establish a permanent rotation for ophthalmic care, including surgery with follow up care in an underserved region of Guatemala.

Keywords: Vision Care, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an optometrist with over 20 years of experience (graduated 1987 Illinois College of Optometry); involved in academics for 10 years at Illinois College of Optometry and 10 years at Loyola Medical Center; I am involved in establishing the permanent rotation in Guatemala discussed in this presentation; I have not presented on this before but have been involved in local mission work since 2002.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.