Student view:

Angela Amaniampong: Providing hope

Sept. 21, 2016

Angela Amaniampong (above: second from left) is a second year student in the College of Osteopathic Medicine who recently spent time caring for patients in Peru as part of an outreach program.

Spending the past three weeks in Peru on the Peru Global Outreach program was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have ever had. I was fortunate enough to help provide free medical attention to patients who had never seen doctors before and, unfortunately, could not afford proper health care.

It was very heartwarming to see how grateful the Peruvians were for our help and for all the medication we were able to provide for them. Whether it was something as simple as handing out extra vitamins and a toothbrush to a family of six with four malnourished kids and rotting teeth, or acetaminophen and ibuprofen to a patient who had been suffering from chronic pain for years, or one who had just been bitten by a rattlesnake and was in severe pain — whatever we were able to give them, they were forever grateful.

caregivers working on a child patientThroughout the trip, I saw a lot of patients who came in complaining of stomach pain, headaches, rashes, diarrhea, changes in bowel habits, no appetite, weight loss and poor nutrition. A lot of the patients came in already knowing what they needed — mebendazole for the parasites that had infested their child’s GI tract. This problem is quite common in areas such as Peru where there is lack of a clean water supply, improperly cooked food and lack of proper sanitation. Thanks to the medications that were donated to us at a reduced rate, we were able to treat these precious children so they can live healthier lives.

On the last day of clinic, a 35-year-old mother came in carrying her two-year-old child who was very limp, underweight and malnourished. She was in tears as she begged us to help her child. She explained to one of the pediatricians that the government had recently threatened to take her child away from her because he was severely underweight and malnourished. Seeing the overwhelming amount of joy, relief and gratefulness across the mother’s face as we gave her medical advice and extra vitamins for her child was heartwarming.

Because of all the medications that were donated to us, including all the vitamins, toothbrushes, toothpastes etc., we were able to provide patients such as this mother with hope and encouragement that she could take care of her child and make sure that he continues to grow and is well nourished. Additionally, thanks to the donation of anesthetics and other medications, we were able to carry out procedures such as removing basal cell carcinomas that patients had been living with for months, even years.

On behalf of Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Peru Global Outreach Program, I would like to extend a big thank you for making this trip possible for us to provide patients in Peru with the proper medication, treatment and the health care they need in order to begin living happier, healthier lives.