Pharmacy on a Mission: Pharmacist Helps Provide Medical Care to the 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 115 patients in one day. Here's her story.

Each trip I’ve attended through GOAcuna has been special in its own way and comes with its own set of unique challenges. Despite the fact that we crossed the border with only one-third of the medical staff and Spanish translators that usually go on the trip, we were able to provide medical and dental care to more than 115 patients.

Upon arriving at the city center to set up clinic, we spent a few hours with the children and got to know the community. Many of the children had not eaten a proper meal in days. Yet, despite their hunger, they welcomed us with big hugs and even bigger smiles.

Many of the patients had never seen a doctor or dentist in their lifetime. Yet, despite a long day of intense heat, the people of Acuna and our staff remained undeterred. Each patient was given the care they deserve and it was clear from the start that our visit made a significant impact on the community.

Similar to our last visit, many mothers attended our clinic in hopes of obtaining multi vitamins for their children. It was a humbling experience to witness how many were desperately seeking vitamins and over the counter medications when they are easily accessible in other parts of the world.

On top of medications, we also provided reading glasses to those who would not have had glasses otherwise. Even when the glasses had a set prescription that didn’t exactly match the recipient’s needs, they were ever so grateful.

Our last patient of the day, a courageous 10-year-old girl who needed six teeth extractions, was a prime example of the strength and character we witnessed from many patients that visited the clinic. After her third extraction, her mother told the dentist to stop because she felt like it was too much for her young daughter to handle. Despite the pain, the young girl adamantly continued.

The fact that the people from Acuña had to wait hours in 105-degree weather to receive medical care, exemplifies how poor their access to health care is and how much they depend on our trips. Before they leave clinic, most of them ask what day we will be back. Their gratitude meant so much to me, and I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to provide them with quality health care.

Until next time, Acuña, I wish you health and happiness.