REACHING OUT TO ECUADOR
A group of volunteers from the Grande Ronde Valley helped bring a little more sunshine to the lives of many families in Ecuador earlier this year.
The 10 La Grande volunteers were part of a 36-member team representing Global Health Outreach, the mission arm of the Christian Medical Dental Association. The association sends teams of health workers to sites the world over. The team to Ecuador was made up of doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and logistics help.
Bob Coulter, co-owner with his wife, Sue, of Red Cross United Drug Store in La Grande, has led teams to Ecuador, Nigeria and China. The Coulters were joined on this year's team by Steve, Jan, Tim and Brian Bump; Maggie Ivester and her daughter, Beth; and Eric and Meg Valentine.
The team spent a week in Vilcabamba, located near the Peruvian border, and a week in Cuenca, Ecuador's third largest city.
Between the two locations, team members saw 2,186 patients and performed 28 surgeries.
The Coulters set up a pharmacy on site and ensured that each doctor had the necessary basic drugs to dispense each day. More specific drugs were prescribed for patients as needed and filled at the pharmacy.
Dr. Bump was among the physicians taking care of the large group of daily patients. Jan assisted with children's programs, as well as assisted parents in bringing their children in for pediatric care. The Bumps' sons, Tim and Brian, ran errands for the surgeons and dentists.
Meg Valentine presented public health information to adults and children as they waited to see the doctors. She also assisted parents whose children were waiting for pediatric care.
Eric Valentine worked with an Ecuadorian optometrist to determine the strength of reading glasses that were needed and also helped coordinate the flow of adult patients waiting to see the doctors. He also recorded the team's visit through photographs.
Maggie Ivester worked as a triage nurse. She was the first medical person to see the patients. She checked weight, blood pressure and pulse, and then with the help of a translator determined what health issues the patients were facing.
Beth Ivester, a nursing student at EOU, helped in surgery under the surgeons' direction.