Last weekend, our pharmacist on staff committed her time to join an organization called GOAcuna on a mission trip to Mexico. Their goal was to give free medical care to the local people of Acuña. Read about her experiences, and how the team was able to treat 174 patients in one day.
From Anyssa Garza, Pharm.D., Vice President of Content and Patient Education Programs:
My first medical mission trip was one to remember – with constant examples that nothing is too big to overcome. I joined GOAcuna, an Austin-based organization that partners with a church in Acuña, and headed into Mexico with a team of 18 health care professionals. Our goal was to give free medical attention to the people of Acuña – including dental care, free medication, and a doctor visit.
The GOAcuna team consisted of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, a dentist, and myself – the only pharmacist present. We also had about 30 additional people who served as translators and others to help facilitate the clinic.
Our biggest obstacle came about because the city officials changed our plans the day before we arrived. We could no longer set up our clinic at the city center, and instead had to set up in an unfinished building across the street on a piece of land that was still muddy from rain showers the night before.
Saturday morning we walked into the building to set up shop, only to find that there was no lighting whatsoever (and therefore no way to safely dispense medications). But within 30 minutes, workers seemed to spring up from the woodwork to tape light bulbs to the ceiling to create efficient lighting.
Within a couple of hours, our building that was once unfinished, wet, and dark, had been transformed into a fully functional clinic. By the end of our first day, we saw an incredible 174 patients.
The team was also fortunate enough to have a dentist on staff, and she spent her entire day extracting teeth. I can’t imagine getting teeth pulled in those conditions, but the people of Acuña were incredibly grateful. They did not complain once – instead, they wait for hours to see the doctor and/or dentist.
What blew me away throughout this experience was that some of our patients had never seen a doctor in their lives, and we had the privilege of being there to treat them and do what we could to keep them healthy. The gratitude the people of Acuña showed us could last anyone a lifetime, and I’m extremely grateful to have played a part in the experience.
Until next time, Acuña.