The clinic typically provides care to over 200 hundred patients daily. However due to the mountainous terrain of this isolated region, multiple patients are unable to make their way to the clinic for care. These patients are often the most vulnerable and ill of the community. We learn about these patients through either family members or community leaders. Each afternoon a small group of students and faculty make homevisits. These visits require several hours of hiking through beautiful yet challenging terrain. We carry backpacks with supplies and medicines we anticipate might be needed. Homevisits provide rich cultural and clinical experiences. In fact, upon return students often identify homevisits as the most educational, enlightening part of the trip. We have seen patients with gangrenous limbs, month-old fractures, paralysis, severe psychiatric conditions, and rare dermatological cases.
Traditional Midwifery Research
An area of faculty interest in Agua Salada is pregnancy and childbirth. This community offers the unique opportunity to do research in maternal and child health. Over the past three years we have studied birthing practices and outcomes of this region. The format of this research is the Participatory Action Research model (PAR). This research model allows for a partnership between the researchers and women in the community. We meet on an annual basis with the local traditional midwives to share information, skills, and practice philosophies. These charlas are wonderful vehicles for educational opportunities for UW students, faculty and the community women. The charla helps us identify and address the areas of need; midwives have encountered complications such as, breech births, pre-eclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, and fetal distress. As a result of this research, faculty and students have been able to help midwives intervene to ensure positive outcomes.
Herbal Medicine in Honduras
In areas where allopathic medical care is unavailable, traditional herbal medicine is the norm. This has been an area of research for a UW senior nursing student. In Agua Salada, we identified an herbalist whose function in the community is to provide healing through herbal medicine. Our student gathered numeric and pictorial data on plants and their uses in this region of Honduras. She has generously contributed this data to be used for on-going research.
Water filter distribution and education project
In March 2009, our School of Nursing Team worked with the community of El Rodeo to implement a water filter education and distribution project. During a community meeting, student nurses provided health education, which included a review of water-borne illnesses and risks, the importance of hand washing to reduce the spread of disease, and demonstration of the appropriate use of colloidal silver-enhanced ceramic water filters in private homes. Almost 50 filters were distributed to households in El Rodeo. Teams of nursing students made several home visits to assist households in setting up the filters in their homes and to answer any individual questions about the use and maintenance of the water filters.