OU students head to Honduras to help with health care
BY MAYURI MUNOT
OU News Bureau
Oakland University is joining the ranks of universities with student-led organizations that are lending a hand to Third World countries lacking access to health care.
Global Brigades worldwide are helping impoverished communities in countries such as Ghana and Honduras.
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere with about 65 percent of its population living in poverty, the U.S. Department of State reported.
OU started its own subchapter, Medical Brigades, in August 2010. This December, 34 OU students will travel to Honduras for seven days to provide medical and dental relief to Hondurans. It is the group’s first international community service project.
“It really puts OU on the map because our students are engaging in something important, and it’s an unforgettable opportunity,” said Florence Dallo, faculty adviser of Medical Brigades.
Dallo said she is proud that the students funded it themselves. She expects it to be an eye-opening trip.
“Sometimes, we forget about all the amenities we have and that other countries don’t have,” she said. “Going to Honduras will help the students be more aware of it by not just seeing it or reading it, but living it.”
Since a majority of the brigade members are pre-med, pre-health and pre-dental students, Dallo said that this opportunity would give them a better idea of whether they would like to do this type of work.
Daniel Ratiu, a junior majoring in health sciences with a concentration in pre-med, joined earlier this year.
“Honduras is a Third World country and is very underdeveloped compared to other countries,” he said. “The average person lives on only $2 a day.”
In the trip to Honduras, the group will focus on medical and dental relief for three days and will later focus on a water brigade, Ratiu said.
The one-day water brigade will have students working on a sustainable water system development project in the rural community of El Cantón in the mountains of the municipality of Teupasenti, Ratiu said. The students will dig ditches for pipes and connect houses to running water.
“It will show from a bigger picture, how lucky we are as a country to have the medicine we do and how we are able to go to the doctor all the time,” he said. “This is a nice way to give back to those who are less fortunate than us.”
Laura Collier, president of Medical Brigades, said that the group would help natives in the village of Hoya Grande, which is an hour away from the country’s capital of Tegucigalpa where the students will live.
The group will work on building a well for the community since most of the children are malnourished, Collier said. The students will visit a boy’s orphanage where they will hand out gifts to the children and play soccer with them.
A mobile medical and dental unit will prepare and label medications, Collier said. The students were told to expect at least 1,000 women and children the first day.
“Health care is so scarce over there and people have to walk four hours to receive some type of care,” she said. “We sometimes forget about the billions of people in impoverished conditions, but now we will be able to support them first-hand.”
Collier spent the last year trying to recruit members for the trip. She said: “It’s exciting because it’s all about raising global health awareness. We want students to excel the boundaries beyond the borders of the U.S.”
Charla is the name of the program in which the OU students will teach children about simple hygiene practices such as brushing their teeth, washing their hands and feet, and covering their mouths and noses when sneezing or coughing, said Nadiya Sorych, vice president of medical brigades.
Sorych said she is interested in global health and would like to become a physician. She will use her minor in Spanish to help translate.Tweet
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