By Charles Redding, MedShare CEO & President
Access to basic and specialized healthcare in Central America largely depends on socioeconomic status and geography (urban or rural). Honduras has worked to improve access and quality of care, particularly in rural settings. Despite improvements to health services and systems, rural populations still have difficulty accessing basic health services and receiving specialized pediatric surgery can sometimes be impossible.
MedShare continues to work with partners like World Pediatric Project (WPP) to address the pediatric surgery gap in Honduras. World Pediatric Project has been actively working in Honduras since 2002. WPP works closely with local physicians and hospital partners throughout Honduras to help close gaps in access to advanced pediatric healthcare services and provide capacity-building and training opportunities to local care providers.
WPP’s Hunduras Orthopedic Program consists of three annual spine teams and two pediatric orthopedic teams focusing on training local surgeons while treating the many children needing the team’s expertise. This program also includes sending children to the U.S. who necessitate more complex resources that a team can provide.
As part of the World Pediatric Project, MedShare recently worked with Honduras medical volunteers Dr. Rachel Thmposon and Dr. Tony Scaduto (both from UCLA’s Orthopedic Institue for Children) to provide pediactric surgery support to Hunduras. They led a surgical team to Ruth Paz Hospital in San Pedro Sula, Honduras to treat children with spine conditions as well as general orthopedic needs. MedShare equipped the team with over $140,000 worth of small fragment surgical orthopedic sets that had been donated to MedShare by DePuy Synthes, a Johnson & Johnson Company. These highly valuable sets contained surgical tools, implants, screws and plates required to address pediatric orthopedic needs.
The spine team continued their close collaboration with Dr. Tomas Minueza, the only pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Honduras trained to treat children with scoliosis – a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. The team also collaborated with local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Javier Ardon to assist children with general orthopedic needs. The impact of the trip included 56 patients receiving evaluations, followed by 7 spine and 16 general orthopedic surgeries performed.
“World Pediatric Project is so grateful for partners like MedShare who provide us with high-quality, specialized orthopedic implants, without which we would not be able to reach as many children.” – Alicia Manteiga, International Teams Director with World Pediatric Project
Children are referred to the Ruth Paz Pediatric Hospital in San Pedro Sula from public hospitals throughout the north part of Honduras due to lack of medical supplies, medicine and functional equipment. The Ruth Paz Pediatric Hospital provides general and specialized surgeries. These surgeries are performed by local Honduran surgeons or in conjunction with US surgical brigades. Daily surgeries include: hernias, gallbladder, cysts, orchidopexia, phimosis, plastic, orthopedic, cleft lip and palate and specialized surgeries such as: cardiac, anorectal, maxillofacial, hip and scoliosis. The hospital has the only burn unit in Honduras where they provide comprehensive burn care.
Support to medical mission teams like World Pediatric Project is one of a number of ways that MedShare’s Primary Care Program is providing healing and hope to impoverished communities while improving access to quality healthcare. Having key partners like DePuy Synthes provides high quality, specialize medical devices that are essential to improving health outcomes for specialized orthopedic surgeries.
Since 1998, MedShare’s Primary Care Program has aided in strengthening the Honduras’ health system by:
Providing 39 forty-foot containers of medical supplies and equipment valued at over $5.4 million and serving 500,000 patients in the country.
Provisioning 70 medical mission teams from 28 different non-profits, humanitarian aid and healthcare organizations with over $ $220,000 in medical supplies and instruments.