I have been encouraged to economize the length of these postings so today I hope to keep it to only a couple of paragraphs. I know you all are very busy people.
Today we come to the halfway point in video #2 (minutes 4:10). The example of Dr Nestor Salivarrias. The producers have moved to a completely different part of Honduras from where the AIM had been working. Dr Nestor is a pediatrician who has been working in this clinic in Olancho for 22 years. He has stopped hosting STMM’s saying they are too costly and have little to no long term positive effect on the health of the people. He instead utilizes Honduran doctors and if any foreigners come to work in this area they are specialists and not primary health professionals. But a comment was made that Dr Salivarrias felt the medical “brigades” (we call them jornadas in Guatemala) were helpful at first in raising awareness and “spreading the word” about his clinic.
This is a comment that I have heard my associate (the medical director of Salud que Transforma in Guatemala) Dr Erick Estrada make several times recently. I am always concerned that he gives in to the temptation of hosting STMM’s at the cost of losing our long view approach to our community health/development initiatives. But it seems one of the most valuable aspects in his mind, and it seems in the mind of Dr Salivarrias, of STMM’s is that it can, in a helpful way, raise awareness of a locally run and administered health initiative. Can we consider this then a “BEST PRACTICE” principle for STMM’s? Short term medical mission teams can be effectively used to raise awareness of locally initiated and administered healthcare initiatives. What would this require to be successful? Does anyone have some positive examples of this working in other places around the world? What other positive aspects do we find in the model used by Dr S?