Global Brigades Team in Honduras

UTGB Team Leads Health Initiative in Honduras

An allied health team, travelled with the University of Toronto Global Brigades (UTGB),  to Honduras for nine days in August to participate in an initiative with the goal of providing free rehab care and sharing knowledge/skills with community health workers.

UTGB is the University of Toronto chapter of The Global Brigades, an international organization that works to improve quality of life in Central American and Ghanaian communities in a manner which is sustainable and promotes community self-sufficiency.

The eight person team included recent OS&OT graduate, Nadine Narain, OT Mona Lee, PT Danielle Warren, SLP Trish Williams and OTAs/PTAs Emily Oosterhof, Michelle Walker, Aaron Hewitt and Tiffany Byndloss.

Spearheaded by Nadine Narain, a collaboration was established between the UTGB team, a medical/dental brigade, comprised of 39 volunteers from the Global Brigades chapters at U of T, Carleton University, and Imperial College London, and local doctors, dentists, and pharmacists, to set up a mobile health clinic.

During the initiative, the mobile clinic visited the community of El Tablón. In 4 days, care was provided to over 1000 patients, including over 80 patient referrals from local Honduran doctors. The patients varied in age, from babies to older adults, who were experiencing a number of conditions, including arthritis, fractures, swallowing difficulties, speech impairments, neurological conditions, soft tissue injuries, and early childhood learning difficulties.

While there, the UTGB team also participated in Global Brigades’ first Community Health Worker (CHW) one-day conference conference in the community of Suyapa, with approximately 100 CHWs in attendance. During the conference, roles of the team members were outlined and break-out sessions were conducted to share knowledge and skills. The allied health team prepared a workbook with content requested by local CHWs, including an anatomy overview, musculoskeletal/neurological conditions and PT/OT treatment, transfers and mobility, pressure ulcers, and swallowing and feeding issues. Patients were also seen by the allied health team in Suyapa and another community, El Espinito.

The allied health team and UTGB hope to continue the great success of the initiative by working with Global Brigades to promote sustainable, holistic health solutions in other communities.

For more information about this project, contact Nadine Narain at n.narain@mail.utoronto.ca.

In the photo, from left to right are (back row): Mona Lee (OT), Danielle Warren (PT), Nadine Narain (OS&OT graduate), Michelle Walker (OTA/PTA), Aaron Hewitt (OTA/PTA)
(front row): Trish Williams (SLP), Tiffany Byndloss (OTA/PTA), Emily Oosterhof (OTA/PTA), Ana Acosta (Translator).

The UTGB allied health team would like to express special thanks to Dr. Debra Cameron, from the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, UTGBs’ executive team, and all GB staff, especially Nicole Jollimore, Dr. Rosario Girón, Dr. Jenny Nájera, Dr. Orestes Cabrera, Dr. Gladys Turcios, Dr. Osiris Pena, Alejandro Ramirez, Josue Luis Moncada, Ana Acosta, Ana Banegas and Philomena Panagoulias, who worked tirelessly to make this trip a success.