Here at the Village Mountain Mission, we have spent the last 14 years providing medical assistance to patients through the rural villages that have difficulty reaching other medical services. In the villages that we work in, we provide care for many different ailments including hypertension, diabetes, injury prevention and recovery, dental problems and developmental treatment. We provide this care with a combination of our medical clinics and education of local health care promoters.
The medical clinics that we host are at the heart of our medical mission. Each group that goes down to provide medical care must have an MD in the group. The specialty of this MD usually determines the type of care that will be provided. We have had many different types of care provided this way, including minor surgeries, dentistry, flouride treatments for children, basic optometry, dietary education, and physical therapy. Although one member of the group has to be an MD, the majority of the group members that go down are people without this degree such as pre PA, pre Med, nurses, EMTs, or individuals without any certifications at all. Group members with medical training are generally able to provide physical examinations for patients, since they have been trained to do so, and assist in medical procedures as needed. If a group member has no medical training, they will typically work on educating the community members on basic healthy lifestyle and dietary practices to help prevent the need for medical care in the future. Group members with no medical training can also help organize a Vacation Bible School and carnivals during these clinics to engage the children of these communities.
Education of the locals is the best way to provide lasting care to the population. We have chosen a local community member to be trained as a health promoter for their village. These health promoters are picked based on their interest in taking care of people, as well as their potential longevity in the program. We train these health promoters to perform primary care to the individuals in their respective villages. This includes following up with patients after treatment from our clinics or an emergency room, routine tasks such as taking blood pressure, and more intensive processes such as delivering babies. Although we are not able to be down there year round, we are able to provide year round care by staying in touch with the 9 health promoters we currently work with.