By Stephanie Malench
Dr. Bernadette Sobczak of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Southern Illinois Univesity at Edwardsville is preparing to make her fifth mission trip to Guatemala to provide vision, dental, and mental health services to the underserved residents to residents in the Escuinth region of Guatemala.
Sobczak, a resident of St. Jacob, travels as part of a medical team with ER Abroad. ER Abroad is a volunteer organization that treats approximately 1,500 patients each year.
Patients check in to the clinic and tells the staff through a local volunteer translator what is wrong and is then sent to one of the three providers on the trip.
The first service provided to the patient is brushing the teeth and providing a paint on fluoride treatment.
Trained volunteers from a Lion’s Club in Florida checks everyone’s eyes and provides donated glasses to those in need and prescription medications for free if needed.
Each child that is seen at the clinic receives two months of children’s multivitamins with iron because nutrition is so poor.
Everyone receives personal care items such as toothpaste, soap, and shampoo.
This year ER Abroad is looking to start an electronic medical records (EMR) program so that there is safe storage of medical information from year to year when the group might be sending different volunteers.
The EMR backpack system can store records for 10,000 patients and help US providers have access to information after the trip to help patients receive continuity of care.
Once enough information is stored, ER Abroad will eventually be able to do studies on the medical situation in Guatemala and get funding for research on how to best help the patients.
Donations have been raised to purchase the software, but donations of 5th generation or newer iPads with 128 gb of storage, routers, batteries for the iPads and batteries for the routers.
To donate electronics or medicines, email Sobczak at email@example.com or to donate cash go to www.erabroad.org/plans -pricing and mark inthe notes what you are donating for.