The Homes of Hope volunteers recognized that while the ongoing construction projects provided much-needed improvements toward living conditions in the San Pablo community, there were critical dietary and healthcare needs that required attention.
In 2005 and 2006, volunteer doctors and nurses traveled to Ecuador as part of the Homes of Hope mission to help address the dietary and healthcare needs of the villagers. In Ecuador, the chronically poor are provided sporadic to no healthcare services. Many of the health concerns seen around the world are experienced by the villagers of San Pablo—high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol—and these conditions were going untreated. Diseases common in third-world countries, such as parasitic intestinal diseases and Entamoeba infections—caused by contaminated food and water—were present. Left untreated, these diseases have a significant impact on the morbidity (the incidence of disease) and mortality (death) of the San Pablo villagers.
Practicing basic hygiene, such as brushing one’s teeth and washing one’s hands, had not been taught, nor was it understood by the San Pablo villagers. Proper prenatal care, lack of adequate nutrition, domestic violence, and alcoholism were other important healthcare concerns that needed to be addressed.
Charged with addressing these important issues, volunteer physicians, nurses, and even a dentist were recruited to participate in the San Pablo Homes of Hope mission. Medical and dental care has been provided to more than 1000 men, women, and children from San Pablo and surrounding villages, where the poor do not receive proper healthcare and healthcare education.
Most rewarding to the healthcare professional volunteers were the changes seen in 2006 from their previous mission in 2005. The villagers were in better condition—they were taking their medications to treat various diseases; they were addressing their nutritional needs; and due to educational efforts, fewer parasitic infections were seen. The children’s nutritional well being was greatly improved, especially due to the efforts of the Sponsor Me program. Progress has definitely been made, and the volunteer healthcare professionals are looking forward to continuing their efforts during the 2007 mission.