Posted by: calloftheandes | August 31, 2009

Health Fair at Jungle Hospital in Ecuador Promotes Prevention

by Jessica Siekmeier
photos: Courtney Potter

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Prevention was the order of the day at HCJB Global Hands jungle hospital in Shell, Ecuador, Saturday, Aug. 22, as more than 100 residents from the small town on the edge of the Amazon came to a health fair, providing various medical screenings and workshops.

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Staff at Hospital Vozandes-Shell offered free eye screenings, glucose tests and pediatric growth checks along with talks on physical therapy, dental hygiene and nutrition throughout the event.

Dr. Eckehart Wolff, director of medical services, said he hoped the fair would help local residents learn more about health prevention as well as to get to know the specialty services offered at the hospital such as dentistry and ophthalmology.

Through glucose and weight screenings, Luis Ilbay learned that he is at high risk for diabetes. Dr. Juan Panchi gave him tips on how to begin managing his diet to improve his health and lower his risk.

Lourdes Castañeba came to the event as both of her daughters needed their eyes checked before school starts. After the screening, the girls were scheduled to see the hospital’s ophthalmologist for a more extensive checkup.

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Ligia, who heard about the health fair on the radio, also came for a vision screening. “I was really worried about my vision, but the doctor told me today that I just need reading glasses,” she said. Ligia also watched physical therapist Daniela Gavilanes’ demonstrations on lifting properly and how to prevent stress on the body while doing everyday tasks such as washing the dishes or ironing.

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Gavilanes explained that taking these small preventive measures each day is much easier than going through surgery or taking extensive physical therapy later to repair the damage. “I didn’t realize that we are doing damage to ourselves every day as we walk or lift things,” Ligia said.

Pleased with the turnout, Wolff added that he hopes events like this will inspire individuals to take advantage of the prevention services offered at Hospital Vozandes-Shell. The hospital will hold another health fair in the nearby town of Puyo in late September.

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