What We Do Medical, Dental, and Ophthalmic Care
Most volunteer teams offer primarily medical care. However, a few will include dentists and ophthalmologists. Often, patients walk hours in order to obtain needed medical care. Since 1997, up to 19 volunteer teams each year come to our clinics where they provide basic medical, dental, and ophthalmic care.
Medical Care Missions
We Provide Medical Care for the Impoverished in Honduras
Imagine being ill and having to walk for hours to seek medical care from a government clinic, and once you arrive at the clinic, only a nurse is available, and the clinic has very little medicine and likely not what you need. Imagine going to the hospital for surgery and having to bring all your surgical supplies and medicine before the operation can begin. This is the situation for many in Honduras.
To help fill this healthcare gap, our many volunteers fill the void by making trips from all over the country and serving on short-term medical teams throughout the year which ensures continuity of care. These doctors and nurses provide medical care for all who come and they dispense the life-savings medicines needed.
CHHF Medical Care Clinics
The area served by CHHF clinics stretches along the Caribbean Mosquito Coast and inland to nearby mountains. This includes the village of Limón, 23 hamlets, and a rural area encompassing 633.4 square kilometers. In 2014 CHHF began serving an additional 16 hamlets in the Chapagua area near Trujillo, with a population of about 6,000. Because three clinic facilities are not enough, volunteer teams travel to distant villages and set up clinics in schools or churches.
As the second poorest country in the Americas, Honduras has limited medical care throughout the country; vast areas have little access to general medical care and no access to specialized services. With a population in excess of 8 million, 64 percent live in poverty ($2 per day per person) and 36 percent in extreme poverty. In the areas served by the CHHF, the percentage of living in extreme poverty is even higher.
Dental Care Dental Care in Honduras
We Provide Much-Needed Dental Care Where None Is Readily Available
When a dentist is volunteering at any of our clinics, long lines will form early in the morning for services that are frequently unavailable. Dental care is generally not available in the areas served by CHHF. Patients must travel long distances to find dentists in larger towns. Most people do not have the financial resources to pay for such services.
CHHF Dental Care Clinics
The main clinic in Limón and the Whispering Hope clinic in Chapagua both offer dental care when dentists are serving on a volunteer team. Originally only extractions were available, but today patients are being provided more services to include dental hygiene and fillings.
Support Dental Care in Honduras
You can help by making a donation towards maintaining our dental facilities and equipment in Honduras so that we can continue providing care for those in need. You could also assist in our efforts by joining our dental volunteer team on a mission trip and directly providing dental care.
Ophthalmic Care Dental Care in Honduras
CHHF Provides Eye Care Where Desperately Needed in Honduras
Vision care is a significant need as most people in the area do not have access to ophthalmic care nor do they have the financial resources to pay for such services. Damage from the bright sun of Central America includes cataracts, degeneration of the retina, and pterygium (an overgrowth on the clear covering of the eye). Loss of clear vision is common.
CHHF Eye Care Missions
Volunteer teams which include an optometrist offer eye exams, ocular disease evaluation and management (glaucoma, infection, allergy, diabetic retinopathy, injuries, etc.), and prescription eyeglasses.
Although most patients can be fit with prescription glasses from the clinic stock, some must be custom made in the States and shipped back with a subsequent team. Several team volunteers have been trained to dispense eyeglasses and assess for cataracts, pterygium, and infection using the Eye Doc in a Box system. Refurbished prescription glasses, sized and packaged for reuse, are provided by the Lions Club and other nonprofits.
When cataracts or pterygium are diagnosed, a surgical referral is made.
Most teams provide and fit patients with reading glasses. These glasses are donated by various charities including Lions Club and AmeriCares.
In addition, CHHF offers educational scholarships to help a limited number of children complete their high school and vocational or university education.
Ophthalmic Surgical Care
Each year, a large number of patients need to be seen at an ophthalmology clinic for cataract or pterygium surgery. Usually, there is a waiting list of at least 12 people seeking a referral. In an emergency, these patients can be sent to a clinic in La Ceiba or El Progresso for treatment with charge. Or the Medical Referral Program will schedule a treatment with the team of Honduras Eye and Life Program (HELP) which holds surgical clinics once a year without charge for the surgery.
Over the years, CHHF has learned that the limited education of the impoverished in Honduras frequently means they do not understand health issues and rarely know how to advocate for themselves to obtain medical services from the government. They also lack the financial resources to travel to major cities to obtain needed medical care.
In years past patients who required care beyond the capability of these volunteer teams were sent to the government hospitals for treatment. However, their patients were often turned away when they could not pay for the lab work or the specialized exams. They were also required to bring their medicines and surgical supplies as hospitals did not have the basic supplies needed to provide care.
Government services today have yet to improve.
Medical Referral Program
Thus, the CHHF Board of Directors took a leap of faith and began a Medical Referral Program in 2014. The goal of this program is to ensure that patients receive the medical, dental, and ophthalmic care they need.
In some cases, medical care is donated by medical mission teams from the US who volunteer at hospitals in the major cities. Often, patients cannot afford the cost of transportation to the city where the team is working. At times, in the Honduran hospital system, specialized medical care is provided after the patient pays for necessary medical tests. Thus, travel funds may be provided to the patient and CHHF will arrange payment for specialists or specific medical testing.
Through your support, referrals for many medical conditions not treatable through our clinic are made. Active cases currently awaiting treatment include general surgery, neurology, urology, and cataract surgery.