Anemia Campaign

Tuesday, December 20th

Today's work was centered around a campaign for anemia.

A doctor and two nurses volunteered their time to the clinic. Julia, a team member and a junior at UNC, is a certified phlebotomist. After the head doctor learned of Julia’s certification, he allowed her to lead a station in taking blood. She was amazing! I was able to assist her for the first part of the day by preparing cotton swabs, applying adhesive bandages, and holding patients’ hands. For many of the patients, this was their first time getting their blood taken. Think of just a few of the scary things the patients were facing at once: 

  • Needles
  • Blood
  • The initial prick of the skin
  • Doctors
  • Foreigners

With this being said, each patient did amazing, and I always said goodbye being impressed by their resilience. It took coercing and candies to get many of the kids to hand over their arms, but this is important. They need to know early if they have anemia. It is worth the temporary pain of a finger prick. Peruvian medicine (and all other medicine) has to remember that preventing disease is far better than finding solutions to disease. This seems intuitive, but it is not always the applied practice. Thankfully, the parents in the community seem to understand the importance of the procedures and assist the doctors in persuasion.

Once the clinic closed for the day, Julia taught all of us how to draw blood and we all took turns practicing on one another.  After our crash course was complete, we headed back to our homes to have lunch with our families before heading to Conache. Conache is a popular place for sand boarding. We hiked up the sand mountains, which proved to be a very difficult task. However, the incredible view at the top was worth each step. Dinner was Chifa, Chinese Peruvian cuisine. To finish off the night, we walked around the local downtown before heading home to rest up for the next day.