Participate in community health fairs

Working and learning in the community

Health care students and professionals taking programs with the Medical Elective Network in Peru normally arrive focussed on their clinical rotation and/or medical Spanish program.  However, participating in our community health fairs is often their most rewarding and memorable experience here.

These weekly health fairs are the ideal opportunity to use both Spanish and clinical skills.

So, what happens on our community health fairs?

The fairs now take place on Friday mornings at different locations around the city.

A typical fair is attended by 60 to 100 people, with everyone from babies to the elderly.  All attendees have very limited income.  For this reason, the medicine and consultations we provide are without charge.

We typically set up at 8 am and finish between 12 noon and 2 pm.  Our team is divided into different roles including triage, consultation tables, and pharmacy.

Who will we see

Patient profiles depend on where each fair is held.  However, you will see a wide range of primary health issues.  Take look at some recent Community Health Fairs Statistics you can also see photos from recent fairs on our facebook page www.facebook.com/MedicalElectives

It can be noisy

Depending on who our partner for the fair is, these can be noisy events.  They may include a band, dancers, and hairdressers providing free haircuts.  They are rarely an ideal environment for clinical consultations.  However, it does make for events that you will remember.

Our partners

We partner with a number of local organizations to ensure that each community health fair runs smoothly.  These partners include the National Police, local authorities, local clinics, colleges, and the national prison service.

It is the role of our partners to provide a safe location for the event to take place.  They are also responsible for promoting the health fair among the local population and ensuring that our team is kept busy, and as many people as possible are seen.

Those seen arrive with the wide range of conditions you would expect to see in primary care anywhere.

Language and Clinical Support

Of course, we would not expect you to see dozens of patients in Spanish alone.  Each month we have a mix of students and professionals participants with differing levels of Spanish.

The day before each health fair program participants come together with our team to discuss the format of the fair.  This will include a discussion of the typical patient complaints to expect and medicines we have available.  This is also when we agree the event team structure.

Clinical support from our doctors

Most months we have professional program participants.  In addition to this, we have our own team of junior doctors who manage each event.  Our team of doctors carry out patient consultations and supervise the work of program participants.

Spanish support from our language teachers

Our language teachers will also be on hand to ensure that you are able to effectively communicate with patients.  As each week progresses on the program you will note your Spanish language confidence improving at the health fairs.  Nevertheless, you will always have the support of our language teachers at the fairs.

  • Community health fairs in Peru

Community involvement

Community health fairs are an increasingly important element of our program.  One that makes a positive impact on local communities and enables program participants to put their developing medical Spanish skills into practice.

We have increased the frequency of the health fairs from just one every few months, when we began, several years ago, to one every week, today.  In the future, we intend to further complement this with a static primary health service in one low-income area.

The fairs are just one part of our commitment to local communities.  Every weekday our NGO, Abuela’s Kitchen provides free meals to elderly persons living in poverty in the La Esperanza district of Trujillo.  We welcome student visits to Abuela’s kitchen to see our work there.

Several times a year we also work in partnership with visiting surgical teams from the US and Canada running providing free surgeries for people with limited resources.  For program participants interested in surgery, the surgical missions are a fantastic opportunity to get involved in an intensive and special experience.

Typically a visiting surgical team of 20 to 25 professionals will carry out over 50 operations over 4 or 5 days.  Our next visiting mission is in April 2019 when we will again be seeing our colleagues from  Healing The Children

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