The Pediatric Anti-parasite Program
Much of parasite prevention is relatively simple and straightforward. It requires taking one dose of anti-parasite medication (albendazole) once every six months. In the past, parents routinely came to the clinic with their children and list off the symptoms of stomach parasites, better known as "bichos." Our doctors would then administer the anti-parasite medication.
Gretchen Myers, a volunteer nurse, developed the program in 2008, with some help from a local hospital and health education center. The program continued, and subsequently flourished under the guidance of Alice Baumgartner when she became a coordinator in 2010. It has flourished since. CMHP volunteers have been going to local schools and administering this treatment to all students. Most importantly, education is incorporated to the children on parasite prevention and hand washing. Children are weighed and their heights are measured to screen for both malnutrition and obesity.
In 2013, dental care was added due to the tooth disease that is abundant and this program gave us good exposure to the kids. Tooth brushes are given to all of the children we treat for parasites. For many kids, this is the first time they've ever owned a toothbrush!