Day 7 ~
After surfing, we departed for Ometepe Island via Ferry in the evening. Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua, the Concepcion and Maderas. Because of its isolation, Ometepe Island has large areas of well-preserved rain forest, swamps and beaches. Life on Ometepe seemed unhurried and peaceful. But also because of its location, much of the island's population has little or no access to quality education and health care.
We woke up at 7:00 am the next morning. Recharged, we were ready for a new day at the clinic. And once again, because it rained a lot the previous night, there were some concerns about the road conditions en route to the clinic. But we arrived safely to the local church, which has openend its doors for us to set up our clinic.
In Ometepe, we encountered patients with problems such as kidney infections, parasites, urinary tract infections and many others. I realized how closely the patient's symptoms are affected by their surrounding. because of the proximity to the volcanoes on the Island, many of our patients suffered from allergies and respiratory tract infections. Due to the isolated location of Ometepe Island, many patients have health problems that are often preventable because it is difficult and expensive for them to access health care and treatment on the main land.
There were times when we had to prescribe medications that were not stocked by our clinic's pharmacy and patients have to purchase them at their local pharmacy. At times, it was disheartening, because we know that some patients are not able to afford even the most inexpensive medications. Therefore, I was thrilled when I learned from Dr. Angelina and Dr. Belinda that there are herbs and fruits that are inexpensive and easily acquired on the island (such as ginger, camomile, pineapple) which can be used to help and ease the symptoms of certain illnesses. In Ometepe, I really learned that health care has to fit into the context of the patient's lifestyle. No matter how high-tech treatments are available for certain diseases elsewhere in the world, it is irrelevant for the patient if there don't have the means to access it. Thus, it is important to treat the patient and not the disease.