Medication on a Mission: Pharmacist Helps Provide Free Medical Care to People of Acuña

Our pharmacist on staff, Anyssa Garza, Pharm.D., attended a mission trip to Mexico through GOAcuna, an organization that provides free medical care to the native people of Acuña. She and the GoAcuna team provided care to more than 210 patients in one day. Here's her story.

Each trip I’ve attended through GOAcuna has been special but this one was definitely one for the books. We made an impactful difference for a community of kind, welcoming people and connected with them on a more personal level than ever before.

On previous mission trips, we didn’t have a building to work in and had to build a clinic outside with the resources we had. During this trip, we set up a clinic in a new facility and provided care to an area that had been torn apart by a tornado in May 2015.

via NotiRey Tamaulipas

The tornado is significant to the people of Acuña. In six short seconds, it ripped through the town taking 13 lives and leaving more than 200 injured. A mural sits in the center of town to honor three girls who were lost in the storm and never seen again. It depicts the girls’ spirits flying to heaven. In the aftermath of the storm, a large flock of butterflies flew through the town and provided hope and beauty in a dark time and are also memorialized in the mural. Providing medical care to those who recently lost their homes and lost hope was a truly moving experience.

We were able to provide medical and dental care to more than 210 patients. We dispensed more than one hundred bottles of Flagenese(metronidazol/diyodohidroxiquinoleína) to treat intestinal parasites. The people of Acuña also needed vitamins due to their lack of access to nutritious food. Mothers waited patiently for hours to get these vitamins for their children.

The need was so great that we ran out of medication twice and had to run to the local drug store to replenish our stock. It was a humbling experience to see the people of Acuña wait patiently for hours just to see a doctor and dentist and receive their medications, some of which were simple over-the-counter medications like Motrin and Tylenol.

After a long day, we were fortunate to celebrate the birthdays of Alberto and Angel, the children of the woman who runs the motel where we stayed. It was such a special experience. Despite the fact that she works two jobs to make ends meet, our hostess offered us food and gifts as a token of her appreciation for our medical care. The Acuña people are truly some of the most loving, generous people I have ever met.

The fact that the Acuña people had to wait hours to receive our care exemplifies how poor their access to health care is and how much they depend on our trips. Their gratitude meant so much to me, and I’m grateful to GOAcuna for giving me the chance to provide them with accessible health care.

Until the next time, Acuña.