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More than a thousand children will treated during the Issa Trust Foundation’s 10th paediatric medical initiative scheduled for September 25th September 30th. Dr. Pat Brophy, Medical Director, “The Issa Trust Medical Initiatives provide Paediatric focused general care for Children in Jamaica. While this has been the most notable component of our care program it has been largely enhanced by our year round ongoing efforts. We have dedicated ourselves to providing health based education, training and resource development support for the healthcare providers tasked with looking after Jamaica’s Children. In conjunction with other non-profit health based organizations and an active partnership with the Jamaican ministry of health we have provided real tangible improvements in child health. Importantly this has been done in a very cost effective and inclusive manner. We believe that working with the Jamaican government and local providers we can work at building a sustainable healthcare program for babies and children.” Kerri Cook, Lead RN, “nothing can make you feel better than helping a child get healthy! Thank you Jamaica for allowing us to come into your country and provide healthcare to your children. We will treat them like our own! And thank you for treating us like family! ” This year we have medical providers from many hospitals such as The University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, Iowa City, Iowa, Mercy Hospital, Des Moines, Iowa, and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio. The team of 41 volunteers includes paediatric pharmacists, intensive care physicians, and hematology oncology physicians, general paediatricians, nephrologists, nurse midwife, pulmonologists, neonatologist, paediatric nurse practitioners as well as a paediatric nurse and respirator therapists. The team will also be providing health and education lectures at St. Ann’s Bay Hospital. In addition, this year all children will receive free eye exams and receive their glasses, if needed, at no cost, immediately after their exam, provided by the Michigan Lions. The Issa Trust Foundation was established in 2005 by Couples Resorts as a nonprofit organization. The mission of the Foundation is to provide a system of prevention, health promotion and education, community health improvement and other services to promote well-being and development for the people of Jamaica. poster announcement
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This was my second time through the pediatric rotation in Jamaica. I had come initially March 2012. I felt it was a good experience in terms of being a balance of helping out as a pediatrician in  an underdeveloped country, while at the same time staying in a beautiful and safe location. Fortunately, both times my wife , who is a special education teacher, was able to accompany me. She will write separately of her experience. Since this is a repeat experience, one tends to compare this time to the previous. For sure, the weather in December is much more unsettled than it was in March. Many days this year would rain or be too windy for the water activities, but of course this is nothing compared to the snow storms we heard about occuring during this same time in the US. It was nice to see and be recognized by the doctors and nurses at the various facilities. At Port Maria, I seemed to be busier than I recalled in the past. I got to draw labs for a few of the kids-one with crampy ab pain and another with fainting episodes. The CBC machine was not working, so the blood needed to be sent out. Another child who was having RLQ ab pain and I felt should see a surgeon, had to be transferred to Annotto Bay. I saw a few rather significant abcesses at Port Maria, one a tennis ball sized axilla one who I walked over to the A/E for drainage and a dental one I started on Clindamycin and sent to a dentist. At Annotto Bay the next day I saw a one month old with several episodes of rectal bleeding and after discussion with the doctors there, was advised to send him to Bustamente Children’s Hospital in Kingston where he could be endoscoped. Of course there were multiple kids with wheezing and some who did not clear after the nebs needed admission. The doctors in the A&E and on the phone are approachable and helpful, so I did not feel unsupported even though I was doing more with less diagnostic and treatment options. I was not constantly busy. There were often down times were I could read a book or talk to some of the staff doctors who were trained in places like Cuba, India as well as Jamaica. Things I wish I brought were: a copy of the Harriett Lane Handbook, somehow it was not at the room at the resort; and a head lamp since once I needed to remove a foreign body from a child’s ear under less than ideal lighting. I concluded my two week stay with pretty much the same feelings after my first experience. While much is lacking materially in the medical experience, the children are being cared for by nurses and doctors who do their best under less than ideal circumstances. I appreciate Diane and the Issa Trust Foundation for enabling me to participate in this program. For sure it is an experience I will not forget.   RP
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My name is Kelsey Bayliss. I am a fourth year pharmacy student at the University of Iowa, College of Pharmacy. I am very fortunate for the opportunity to have participated as part of the 2013 medical mission team for the Issa Trust Foundation in Jamaica. I spent close to two weeks in Jamaica as part of my elective pharmacy rotation and it has been the most influential time spent on my journey to become a pharmacist. Not only did it strengthen my love for international healthcare and the pediatric population, but it really introduced me to a love of mission work and helping others that are less fortunate. Truly, it has been a life-changing experience. I was first introduced to the Issa Trust Foundation as a third year pharmacy student. My preceptor, on an experiential pharmacy rotation, was a pharmacist who has been a medical mission trip volunteer in Jamaica for many years. I helped package albendazole tablets for the 2012 mission and after learning about the Issa Trust Foundation and what they do for children in Jamaica, I knew I wanted to become more involved. A year later, I contacted the preceptor asking permission to join her as part of the 2013 medical mission team, and the rest is history. I was so excited to become part of the team and participate in my first mission, and now that it is over, I am even more excited for next year’s mission to be here! The experience I had while on the medical mission is very hard to express in words. I have never felt as empowered and fulfilled as what I did during my time with the children in Jamaica. They do not have the access to proper healthcare and medical resources and it was a very touching experience to be able to help provide that. Being able to counsel a parent on a medication, knowing that you giving them a chance to improve the life of their child is truly life-changing. The patients were always so grateful for our time spent and the resources we gave them. Children were just as grateful when you shared a smile, hug, or gave them a high-five. Just thinking of the time I was able to spend with the children brings a smile to my face. While on the mission, not every moment deserved a smile. Many of the children are in dire need of our help. Many of the children lack a safe and stable home-life and some children were reported to be eating only every other day due to lack of access to food. This is heart-shattering. My husband, Austin, had a little boy ask him if he could go home with us. After Austin sadly told him that he could not, he asked again with a serious, straight-face, “Are you sure I can’t go home with you?”  Hearing this, broke my heart. A request like this, from someone this young, showed us that he was one of those children that lacked a good home-life. Children like this, are the reason my husband and I have a strong desire to continue mission work with the Issa Trust Foundation in Jamaica. I saw examples everyday on how the Issa Trust Foundation has enriched the lives of children in Jamaica. Not only did this mission provide children with medical care that they needed and deserve, but the team was also able to provide eye glasses to those with need as well.  The children were very shy when approached about their new glasses, but after a well-deserved compliment, a heart-warming smile was generally the response the children gave. I will never forget my experience as part of the medical mission trip team in Jamaica. I had the opportunity to help change the lives of close to 900 children in five days on my pharmacy rotation. Keeping everything I have shared in mind, I would highly recommend fellow pharmacy students, health care professionals, or those with a love of children or international healthcare to strongly consider contributing and/or donating their time to the Issa Trust Foundation. I am for certain that I want to continue enriching the lives of children in Jamaica through the Issa Trust Foundation and I cannot wait for next year’s mission to arrive. What an amazing experience!    
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