About Us > Volunteering in Honduras
Volunteering in Honduras
Friday, July 9, 2021 8:49:41 AM
Sometimes, leaving your comfort zone and serving people in underdeveloped countries is just what the doctor ordered. That was the case for Dr. Preston Houston, a graduate of the Aultman Family Medicine Residency Program, who spent more than 20 days volunteering in Balfate, Honduras, at a mission hospital in May and June 2021.
“The hospital does good work,” he said. “It’s a team of about 10 clinicians, mostly American missionaries (and one enthusiastic Dutch midwife), and they’re training local nurses to deal with things the best they can.”
Based in the northern part of the Central American country, the hospital is a faith-based, full-spectrum institution that has about 1,600 visits each year, with up to 20 inpatients at the time. About 360 babies are delivered there each year, plus many surgical visits. It’s the only hospital within an hour and a half of the city of La Ceiba, and people travel up to seven hours to get there – depending on whether the roads or bridges are in good condition.
While there, Dr. Houston saw a wide variety of patients for different needs, including delivering two babies, triaging and helping in three labors, repairing three machete wounds, casting broken arms and removing some toenails, along with many other treatments, procedures and emergencies.
“The inpatient stuff is quite challenging because they have no CT scanner and limited labs,” he said. “Having my ultrasound has been helpful. Medical cases are different – with parasites such as Chagas and ascariasis being more common.”
Despite the treatment conditions being less ideal than back home, Dr. Houston made a difference for a lot of Hondurans, and they show their appreciation. “People are extremely grateful, and this is very refreshing,” he said. “The most difficult thing is the heat – it’s always in the mid-80s and humid.”
Outside of his volunteer work, Dr. Houston was able to take some time to see the sights around the country, including the Caribbean island of Roatan. “We went cliff-jumping near a waterfall and enjoyed hiking to see the animals. There’s howler monkeys, capuchins, toucans and lots of other things around!”