The Iodine Deficiency Project

laviniaIodine deficiency is the most widespread cause of preventive mental impairment. In the 1980's Bolivia had one of the most severe iodine deficiency problems in the world, so severe that the WHO and UNICEF teamed up with the Bolivian government to implement the Universal Salt Iodization program in 1983. However, over two decades have passed since the iodization program was implemented and there have been no follow up assessments of the national population's iodine levels.

As an ambitious college junior at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL, Lavinia Sinitean, spent the summer of 2006 at Centro Medico investigating iodine levels of the local population. Lavinia's project aimed to evaluate the iodine status and prevalence of iodine deficiency in Centro Medico's communities.

Continue Reading

First Aid Training

redcrossIn 2003, in conjunction with Dave Sears' Emergency Medicine Program, US volunteer Becky Laks developed a first aid training for local community members, most of whom had never been taught how to respond to medical emergencies. Since most of Centro Medico's communities are situated in semi-isolated, rural areas somewhat far from Centro Medico or other healthcare facilities, it was critical that locals learn how to handle emergency situations.
Becky delivered the training, which consisted of two 4-hour sessions, to 6 Centro Medico communities. The training covered everything from keeping wounds clean to treating 1st and 2nd degree burns to more urgent situations such as snake bites, preventing shock, making a make-shift cast and doing CPR.

Continue Reading

Children's Library Project

hogueraIn 2005, first year volunteer Northwestern medical student Jason Oppenheimer took action when he noticed that few local kids spent time reading and many never passed elementary education levels. Why? Families were too poor to buy books, and the local school only went up to 5th grade.

So he decided, "If the students can't afford books - give them books. If their parents can't help them in their home - find them an environment where the more advanced students can tutor those in need of assistance. If the students can't afford to go to Buena Vista for a secondary education - give them the opportunity to move their education forward at the clinic.

Continue Reading

Birth Spacing Reseach

JuliaMumiCentro Medico's Female Patients: Investigating Women's Health at the Clinic
Northwestern Medical student and Centro Medico Volunteer Julia Chu decided to do her MPH final requirement at Centro Medico. Since Julia had a special interest in women's health, specifically in maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality, she researched birth spacing in Centro Medico's surrounding communities.
While planning her project, she learned that short intervals - less than two years - between pregnancies had been associated with increased maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. Additionally, she also learned that women in rural areas in Bolivia only want 2 to 3 children in their lifetime but in reality have 5 to 6 children over a relatively short period of time.

Continue Reading

The Nutrition Program

nutritionMalnutrition is one of the leading health challenges at the clinic and most often affects young children and pregnant women. In 2003, Centro Medico volunteer Becky Laks decided to start the Centro Medico Nutrition Program which aimed to educate Centro Medico patients on nutrition and healthy eating. In addition, since energy-dense but nutrient-poor diets are common among Centro Medico's poor communities, she also started a multivitamin project. The program regularly distributed vitamin and mineral supplements to clinic patients, specifically young children.

More Articles...

  • 1
  • 2