Trinity School of Medicine Students and Faculty Engage with the St. Vincent Rotary Club in Village Doctor Outreach
In mid-November, Trinity School of Medicine collaborated with the Rotary Club of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in hosting their Annual Village Doctor community outreach. On this occasion, vehicles carrying personnel, equipment, and medicines rolled into the interior community of South Rivers, where the entire entourage convened at the South Rivers Primary School to conduct their consultations.
Patients journeyed from areas within South Rivers and from neighboring communities to avail themselves of the opportunity to be seen by a healthcare professional. Services were provided in the areas of: Gynecology, Pediatrics, General Surgery, Ear Nose and Throat, Dental, Ophthalmology and General Medicine. There was also a Pharmacy set up with a number of practicing pharmacists.
Medical professionals from Trinity School of Medicine forming part of the healthcare team were Dr. Andreas Reymann – Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Evaluation, who acted as liaison between the patients directed to particular specialists and the doctors doing the consultations; Dr. Conrad Nedd – Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine and Clinical Preceptor; Dr. Frances Jack – Associate Dean of Students; and Dr. Jamil Ibrahim – Assistant Professor in Clinical Medicine; who served as General Practitioners; and Dr. Sotto – Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine and Chief Proctor, as Pediatrician. The Triage Area was manned by a team of Trinity's fifth term students who conducted the initial consultation on all of the incoming patients.
According to outreach volunteer and Trinity Student, Joana Cohen,
"It was crazy busy! I think we helped 234 people. In a mere 2.5 hours, ten students got basic histories, took vitals and assigned patients to a particular doctor.
Once we finished assigning the patients I went to the 'general/internal medicine' and watched the doctors. It was fascinating to see how quickly they could make a diagnosis and with so little information: just vitals and chief complaint. No labs, no ultrasound, echo; we only ran 1 or 2 ECGs!
It's a very different world. It was nice to see that quite a few of the medications the Village Doctors had were helpful for the patients, so they could actually receive treatment.
It was also interesting talking to the patients; most had hypertension, about half of which were unaware. Those who were took medication only as needed. Some people had eye or ear problems for years and this was the first time they were seeking any medical attention.
All in all you really did have to be there to fully understand; but every patient was attended to and treated with care and respect. It was truly incredible."
Trinity School of Medicine has been partnering with the Rotary Club of St. Vincent in its Village Doctor exercises for a number of years. This community outreach project is a flagship program of the organization, which travels to villages in need, and offers free medical attention and medicines for one day. Dr. Nedd explained that the collaboration is such that Trinity tries to participate in an exercise at least once per term.
“We simply plan the exercise and work it into the convenience of everyone,” he said. Dr. Nedd further explained that the teams try to target areas where medical services do not meet acceptable regular standards. He, however opined that, “At this exercise, for a community with such a fairly regular service, the turnout was extremely good.”
There were approximately 300 patients who visited the Village Doctor site and close to 400 consultations were performed as many patients were able to see more than one specialist.
This project has assisted thousands throughout the Island from the far North Windward community of Fancy, to Spring Village on the other North Leeward end; and the Grenadine Islands of Bequia, Canouan, and Mayreau. Following the December 2013 devastating floods in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, when several persons lost their lives and many communities suffered infrastructural damage and loss of belongings, the Rotary Village Doctor assisted in the rebuilding exercise, and in providing the medical assistance needed.