Monday, May 02, 2011

Doing their part; a medical mission to Honduras

One big part of the work of Medecins Sans Frontieres is bringing medical professionals from the rich nations into the under-developed nations. Doctors and nurses will spend a month or two in a poor community to provide support to the medical staff already in the area.

A doctor making one of these trips was profiled today in the El Paso Times. Writer Victor Martinaz talks to Dr. Sergio Alvarado, who is about to leave on a MSF trip to Honduras.

"Everybody needs to do their part and help out the best they can," Alvarado said. "I had good role models growing up. My mom brought us up like that. When we were little, we would help with the colonias by building homes."

Now 34, Alvarado will take a two-week medical mission trip to San José de Marcos de Sierra, Honduras, with a group of residents from the University of Rochester in New York.

"When I first wanted to do medicine, I heard about Doctors Without Borders and I wanted to go out and help and see how medicine is practiced outside the U.S.," Alvarado said. "Even before entering medical school, I was always interested in helping those in need. You don't have to travel far to realize poverty and shortage of doctors exists."

The international rotation will be from May 7 to May 21.

Alvarado met Dr. Doug Stockman, the program director for the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester, during a national family practice conference in December.

Stockman informed Alvarado about how their residents travel to Honduras to provide medical care.

The Rochester program is in affiliation with Shoulder to Shoulder (, an organization that has been working in the Intibucá Honduras for more than 20 years to reduce poverty through programs in health, education, nutrition and environmental hygiene.

"There is a lot of poverty in Honduras," Alvarado said. "Over 50 percent of its population is below their standards for poverty. There are still a lot of diseases going around out there that we rarely see here anymore, like syphilis and TB."

Honduras is the second-poorest country in Latin America, next to Haiti.

No comments: