It’s hard to believe that we are leaving for Honduras again in just two and a half short weeks – amazing! I truly can’t wait to be back on the ground and spending time with our friends and well, family there. As I prepare for another trip, I wanted to address one of the most common questions asked from team members and potential team members who are considering a trip with us. That is “how can I prepare for this trip?” One of the most common concerns we hear is people afraid they will be unable to practice medicine in a third world country.
First, common things are common. Flashback to PA/nursing/medical school, right? But, it’s true! Just like upper respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, acid reflux, high blood pressure, diabetes and so on are common here, they are common other places as well. Surely we all know how to manage those things! While the resources available to us may be slightly different from place to place…okay, maybe really different…the basic principles of management are the same. We all know how to treat the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (aka cold).
Second, there are a TON of resources available if you just know where to look. My absolute favorite book to bring when I travel on mission trips is Handbook of Medicine in Developing Countries. This is my go-to when I’m stuck. I think it’s an amazing resource that has a lot of information packed into one manual. And, it’s available as an e-book so you can just download and go! Here’s a link to Amazon if you’re interested: https://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Medicine-Developing-Countries-Dennis-ebook/dp/B00P02PHV0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1467826196&sr=8-1&keywords=handbook+of+medicine+in+developing+countries. (Don’t forget to shop using Amazon Smile and support Impact!).
Another great resource is the World Health Organization (WHO). They release all kinds of guidelines for various conditions on a regular basis. Whether you’re interested in child health, communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS or something else, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a link to their main guidelines page: http://www.who.int/publications/guidelines/en/. Take some time to explore and see what might help you in the future!
Lastly, one of my other favorite resources is the Institute for International Medicine (INMED) out of Kansas City, MO. I have had the privilege of attending their Exploring Medical Missions Conference for the past four years and have taken some of their online courses in the past. In fact, I’m super excited to tell you all that I have enrolled in their 10 week International Medicine and Public Health hybrid course this fall. They always have SO much good information in their courses and I’m sure this one will be no different. So check out their website if you have a few minutes: http://www.inmed.us/. If you have a few more minutes, check out this TED talk by their founder, Nicholas Comninellis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkkNo_upwZA. Well worth fifteen minutes of your time.