By Sunshine Lickness, coordinator of Awamaki’s Health Program

With a full team of volunteers and two doctors visiting, we set out to some communities not yet traversed by Awamaki Health. Wednesday and last Friday were days of exploration, consultations, and data collection. We went to three communities in all, Olmiron, Kamicancha, and Primavera all in the direction of Chilca.

This campaign was similar to the one we conducted in December 2010 with Dr. Qureshi. We used the same forms that sought to evaluate lifestyle, previous medical attention, educational background, and family situation of disabled people. Awamaki is using the information that was gathered from the previous campaign to develop statistics to help us and the community get a glimpse into the lives of people living with disabilities. By visiting Olmiron, Kamicancha, and Primavera we expanded our pool of data as well as potential candidates for outreach programs, such as our home visits.

This time however was a bit different than before. To start, we had the help of both Dr. Jennifer Buckley and Dr. Brandi Shah, two inspiring doctors from the US, to evaluate individuals. With the help of two doctors, we were able to split up into two groups so that more people could be seen. Additionally, consultations this time were not limited to persons with disabilities, but rather anyone who needed the assessment of a doctor. We knew prior to visiting these people that these communities were even more distant from medical attention so we envisioned visiting as many medical cases as needed. Finally, this time we did without a list of names of patients. On our previous campaign the municipality had given us a list of people that had already been seen and diagnosed so our job had been to accurately diagnosis them as well as gather what additional information we wanted. With no list this time, we sought the help of locals to point us in the direction of people who might want our services.

The two days were a success. Despite the minor glitch on Wednesday where we were denied access to a community because we didn’t have proper authorization (it’s the community where the Inca Trail begins), we were able to see plenty of people. Although we were unable to promise immediate help to the patients because our resources are limited, we offered recommendations, advice, insight on local resources, and foodstuff for participation in the survey. Because we have more information we can now strengthen our appeal to governments, clinics, businesses, and individuals for greater support of disabled and disadvantaged persons.

Good work Team Awamaki!