Cross post from Mayan Families: https://mayanfamilies.org/blogs/entry/3412
Article by Tatiana Petrovick
Today in Latin America we celebrate the Día del Médico (Day of the Doctor). We have been so fortunate this year to welcome some of the most wonderful medical groups and individuals as volunteers.
Their desire to help others knows no borders, literally, as they leave the comfort of their homes to spend several days in the rural Guatemalan Highlands providing valuable health services to local indigenous communities. Sometimes they would work up to ten hours a day with little to no breaks!
These passionate, skilled doctors come down with the necessary equipment and medicine, but most importantly, their knowledge and expertise. And on top of travelling and being willing to work in challenging remote areas, they provide health services at their own expense, free of charge for the communities who are in such desperate need of health care.
There are no words to express how much gratitude we have for this noble group of professionals. This is why I am so happy that over Thanksgiving weekend we were able to host Mayan GAP, a dental group from the United States. While many Guatemalans living in the Highlands know they should seek medical treatment if a family member is ill, not many prioritize proactive dental hygiene when it comes to a daily health care regime.
Mayan GAP is an organization headed by Dr. Steve Hewett, who is committed to bringing several dental groups to Guatemala each year and provide dental care services to people who need it the most in collaboration with Mayan Families. He has already brought down many groups, and through his organization has donated several dental chairs and equipment to support our efforts in providing holistic health care to the people we work with.
This Thanksgiving, he joined us with a full group of four dentists who provided extractions, fillings and cleanings, as well as a couple of root canals! Because the last time they were here they only worked with children, this time they decided to focus on adults, thus ensuring that a wide range of people had the opportunity to get this valuable service. Over the course of two days, they managed to see over one hundred patients!
For this group, however, numbers don’t matter. All they care about is patient satisfaction and health. One of our translators who was working alongside the dentists throughout the duration of the clinic was struck by their level of professionalism and consideration for patients’ feelings.
Even though they were trying to see as many people as possible, they never once lost their patience and caring nature. They made sure every step of each examination and procedure was relayed by the translator to the patient, while also listening to every worry the patient may have had.
In short, the indigenous people who came to our most recent clinic received world-class treatment by an incredible team of dentists who are committed to changing the future of the Guatemalans living in the Highlands. Mayan GAP not only has the ambition to provide quality dental care to relieve pain, but they are spearheading our efforts to launch a comprehensive Dental Program that we can implement as part of our Family Aid department.
In addition to holding dental clinics, they want to help us provide educational materials on how to take care of their teeth, as well as provide preventative measures such as hygiene presentations, toothbrushes and toothpaste, fluoride treatments, and hopefully regular dental check ups before people are in pain!
If you want to support our efforts to launch our Dental Program, you can give here by selecting our “Support a Program” option and donating to our “Dental Clinic Program”. Otherwise you can visit our quick donation page and indicate in the notes section that your donation is to go to our Dental Clinic Program.