Saturday, December 16, 2017

OCMA Blog

OCMA Specialty Spotlight: Humanitarian Healing


Arpan Global Charities (AGC) is a non-profit organization established in 2005 by Dr. Sudeep Kukreja.  The goal of AGC is to bring health and hope to medically underserved populations around the world while providing humanitarian assistance and medical education to those who need it the most.

Arpan Global Charities' 13th international medical volunteer mission took place in the city of Latacunga, Ecuador and a team of 52 dedicated medical and non-medical volunteers participated. Team  members had diverse backgrounds and many years of experience in their respective fields and among them were: 5 nurses, 5 pediatric residents from CHOC Children's Hospital of Orange County, an echo tech, 3 anesthesiologists, 7 pediatricians, 1 cardiologist, 1 dentist, 1 geneticist, 1 gynecologist, 1 CT surgeon, 1 ENT surgeon, 1 ophthalmologist, 1 plastic surgeon, 2 general pediatric surgeons, 1 pediatric orthopedic surgeon, 1 orthopedic surgeon for adults, 1 radiologist, 1 pharmacist, and 10 non-medical volunteers.

Volunteers arrived from the US to Quito in waves and landed in Quito's new airport, located approximately an hour and half away from Latacunga. Although team members faced multiple challenges due to delayed airport pick-ups, lost luggage, and a late arrival to the hotel in Quito at 2:30 AM, the volunteers were eager to start working so they rushed to their rooms to get some rest. The team members were ready at 6 AM for the bus ride to their final destination, the small town of Latacunga.  After a 2-hour trip, the team arrived at a government clinic named Patronato where they immediately examined hundreds of patients and pre-screened them for treatments and/or surgery. Arpan Global Charities rented two facilities with operating rooms in Latacunga for surgeries: Clinica Continental and Instituto de la Mujer. Some surgeries were also performed by the pediatric orthopedic surgeon and the geneticist at Baca Ortiz Children's Hospital in Quito. Furthermore, Arpan's genetics doctor took the initiative to collaborate with local physicians to organize a genetics conference scheduled to take place at the Sheraton Hotel in Quito for the "Rare Diseases Day."  While reaching out and collaborating with local physicians, our medical team established a promising relationship with Quito's medical faculty to discuss the development of a partnership between CHOC Children's Hospital of Orange County and Baca Ortiz Children's Hospital in Quito to promote international collaboration and exchange programs.



Volunteers of Arpan Global Charities also visited 4 different orphanages in Latacunga and Quito where they examined every orphan residing in those centers and facilitated treatment, distributed clothes, and donated toys. Mission volunteers had the opportunity to visit two schools located in very poor areas of their town where they examined every student and discovered some children who had undiagnosed serious medical conditions for which treatment was facilitated. The team of anesthesiologists and nursing staff provided supportive services to patients in the recovery room which allowed skilled surgeons to perform more than one hundred major surgical procedures. With the help of the echo technician, the cardiologist volunteer was able to examine and treat hundreds of patients. Even the dentist surgeon was kept extremely busy from 8 AM to 6 PM everyday with long lines of patients eagerly waiting to see him. 


The help and support of the nursing members, pediatric residents, pharmacist, non-medical volunteers, Ecuadorian volunteers and Ecuadorian medical students was phenomenal. This mission would have not been possible without them.  Besides providing free medical care to the most underserved population in Ecuador, Arpan Global team members were also involved in the education of local nurses, medical students, and doctors in both Latacunga and Quito.

Considering that team members had limited equipment and very scarce medical supplies, it is important to acknowledge their caring attitude and sense of commitment for these qualities enabled them to work long hours on a daily basis to provide humanitarian healing to all their patients.  Indeed, the team's dedication and hard work enabled Arpan Global Charities to touch the lives of more than 1,500 Ecuadorian children and adults. A lot was accomplished during this missionary trip which makes it one of the most exciting and successful medical volunteer missions of Arpan Global Charities.




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