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Helping Alejandra Get to School in Honduras

  • June 25, 2019
  • Medical Outreach
  • Alejandra lives with her grandmother and great-grandmother in a two-room house in an extremely remote Honduran village near Opatoro.

A Medical Partnership to Heal Alejandra

Meet Alejandra*. She is a neighbor.  She is six. 

Alejandra lives with her grandmother and great-grandmother in a two-room house in an extremely remote Honduran village near Opatoro.  More than anything, Alejandra loves to learn, and she can’t wait to go to school. But the path to study has been closed, and not from the region’s mountainous terrain or the distance to travel.

Alejandra was born with clubfoot, a congenital birth defect, causing the foot to be severely out of position.  As long as Alejandra has been able to walk, she has walked on the outside of her foot, which eventually wore down the skin and led to a severe bone infection, becoming life threatening.  Had it not been for a local community healthcare advocate, the end of this story very likely would have been tragic. 

These advocates (“voluntarios”) are elected by the people of each village. They are highly respected, receive training and deliver basic first aid. One voluntario found out about Alejandra’s situation and brought it to the attention of a visiting medical team at the nearest health center – a clinic that like school and church was too far for Alejandra to reach. Americares Medical Outreach Program had supported Ron Medzon, MD and his team through Community Health Partnership–Honduras on a trip to support three clinics in the region. The visiting medical volunteers were working with an equal number of Honduran healthcare professionals who had also volunteered their services for the visit.

Photo: Doctor cleaning foot wound

Alejandra receives treatment from the volunteer medical team

Because the team was making home visits in addition to their work in the rural clinics, they were introduced to Alejandra by the voluntario in time to treat her infection.  The team utilized Americares donated bandages, gauze, syringes, antibiotics and other additional products in her treatment. Her grandmothers were given supplies and taught how to care for her wounds.

“Your generous donations are so critical to our success. Together we truly make a difference.”

Jennifer Smith, founder and director of CHPH

Since the team departed, the voluntario has visited Alejandra twice a week and sends updates to both her U.S. and Honduran doctors via WhatsApp.  Alejandra has seen great improvement and is scheduled for corrective surgery soon. After her surgery and physical therapy, she should be able to walk normally and attend school for the first time in her life. Alejandra is a very, very bright young girl and loves her studies so much that the team has arranged for her to be tutored in the meantime.

Photo of Alejandra studying

Alejandra loves to learn and studies every chance she gets

According to the founder and director of CHPH, Jennifer Smith, “Americares is one of our most important non-profit partners and has provided antibiotics, wound care supplies and bandage wraps to help us care for Alejandra. We know that in our little corner of Honduras, in those beautiful regions of indigenous Lenca, together we are making a difference. It has been a joy to work with Americares and we deeply value the trust you place in our organization and in our work!”

Lots of hands came together to heal Alejandra – a voluntario, a visiting medical team, a group of volunteer Honduran healthcare professionals, a grandmother and great-grandmother, Americares and you – a true partnership – just what it takes when a neighbor needs your help. Thank you.

Each year, the Americares Medical Outreach Program supports volunteer medical teams making more than 1,000 trips to approximately 80 countries with medicine, supplies and educational resources.

*Name has been changed. 

Alejandra after Surgery

An Alejandra Update

The surgery was completed on schedule and Alejandra is very happy! The medical staff are hoping she’ll only need casts and special boots with therapy in order to correct the deformity, now that they’ve elongated the tendon. An amazing young lady has a new path to take, and school is now in her future.