The region surrounding the town of Tualabe, located in the mountainous land of central Honduras, is a beautiful area lush with crops such as coffee, sugar cane and citrus fruits. A veritable paradise geographically, Honduras struggles economically, with a GDP per capita of only about $2,800. Although the economy is continually growing, roughly 50% of the population (about 3.1 million people) still remain below the poverty line.
The people who live in the mountain villages around Tualabe face the challenges of extreme poverty and very limited access to medical care. Treatable diseases, such as infections and intestinal disorders, needlessly claim lives each year -- especially children.
In early 2007, IHSF became involved with Rivers of the World (ROW), supporting their work in the construction of a medical clinic that will make quality health care available to the underserved people in this region. The clinic, which is being built in the valley, will focus on prenatal care, OB/GYN, pediatrics and dentistry. Additionally, ROW is working to build a transportation system, which will allow relatively easy access to the clinic from the mountain villages.
The clinic has three primary objectives. Firstly, to serve the health needs of the people in the remote villages. Secondly to provide “service learning experiences” for family practice residents of the Indiana University School of Medicine (IU). And finally, the clinic will provide a practice and medical education site for Honduran physicians. With the approval of the Honduran government, ROW and the family practice department of IU are working to make this vision a reality.
- July 2007: IHSF participated in a medical mission team made up of clinicians from the Trident Health System of Charleston, South Carolina, medical and non-medical personnel from Dalton, Georgia, and a physician from Mexico. Our ongoing intent is to be directly involved with periodic mission trips and to assist in the development of the clinic.
- January 2009: In partnership with ROW, the ENLACE Foundation and MedShare International, IHSF co-sponsored the shipment of a 40-foot container of used but usable medical supplies and equipment to the clinic at Tualabe. IHSF continues to work closely with partner organizations and clinic officials to assess, and assist in securing, those supplies and equipment still needed following this shipment. The goal is to have all needed supplies and equipment available to the clinic when construction is completed.
- May 2011: IHSF President Charlie Evans travelled to Honduras with Dr. Britt Boyd and a group of nursing students from North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU). Over a period of six days, the group conducted several clinics for children and adults in the remote villages of the region, as well as in the ROW clinic at Tualabe. They also delivered some needed medical supplies and helped to organize the supplies from the previous shipment to the clinic. IHSF continues to monitor ongoing needs at the Tualabe clinic.
The students have set up a blog to share their experiences and photos here: http://ngcsuhonduras11.blogspot.com
If you are interested in learning more about this project or if you would like to help, please visit www.row.org for further information.