Our foundation is in family health therefore we have three general practitioners who cover the clinic hours from 7:30am to 6:00pm. We also have many visiting doctors and residents from the US, Canada and around the world.
One of the most utilized programs at Clinica Esperanza is women’s health, including exams and education. Our fourth highest diagnosis is pregnancy in the Clinic. With a full-time women’s health doctor on staff, we provide general health, cancer screenings, ultrasounds as well as prenatal classes for mothers. We also accept OBGYN volunteers year-round to learn about and experience women’s health issues on the island during their time here. With our high-end private birthing suites, we hope to become one of the primary birthing centers on the island in the coming years.
With a fertility rate of 3.01 children born/woman in Honduras, it is imperative that we offer quality pediatric care. Dr. Rafael Solis heads up our pediatric program and works with the visiting pediatric physicians from the US and Canada. Students interested in pediatrics are encouraged to come do a rotation with us.
Clinica Esperanza feels the treatments is as important as the diagnosis and so we charge $5 for a consult but give the prescribed medicine for free. We never turn away someone who isn’t able to pay the consult fee and we have hypertensive or diabetic patients who walk out with $400 a month in medication. Our pharmacy is able to provide this much needed service through generous donations from volunteers and visitors. If you would like to bring some medications with you please see our “Medications Needed” list. We are also recipients of donations from Direct Relief International. We have coordinated the distribution of millions of dollars worth of medicine to other clinics on the island.
On the island of Roatan the most frequent remedy to dental issues is extraction. At Clinica Esperanza we are able to provide cleanings, digital x-rays, fillings, root canals and other services to help patients keep their teeth. Additionally, to try and prevent dental disease before it occurs or progresses, we work with local schools, local dentists and Colgate to provide early dental education.
Eye Exams and Surgeries
As a part of our community outreach, volunteers go into the local communities and schools to provide free eye exams. We have volunteer Optometrists who give of their time and expertise to meet this great need. Once the eye exams are completed, the people that need follow-up care are referred appropriately. Some glasses are provided on site as available.
Annually, there is a group of optometry students and instructors that provide follow-up services with dilated eye exams These exams are of vital importance to our diabetic patients in the prevention and early detection of glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness in adults.
We coordinate with Oakridge Community Clinic and Dr. Darin Bowers to provide eye care, including surgeries for cataracts, strabismus, and pterygiums. We have increased the number of ophthalmologists coming which means that we are able to care for more eye patients but still have a waiting list for surgeries and are looking for other ophthalmologists who can join us in providing this critical service to the island. The Oakridge Community Clinic has the surgical suite and equipment necessary to perform these surgeries.
We also accept donated glasses to provide for our patients poor vision. The gift of sight changes a life forever and empowers them to truly live and to experience the beauty of life.
Our Community Health Program offers volunteers an opportunity to see the context from which our patients come and to better understand the barriers to care. We work to provide health promotion and disease prevention to the community in two ways: through the Promotora Program, and Community Health Outreach.
Clinica Esperanza is adjacent to a “colonia” of 3,800 inhabitants who are literally squatters on once vacant land. A large percentage of these people are recent immigrants from the mainland of Honduras. Most come for work in the construction and tourism industry. Few have any education beyond the sixth grade. Many have left their extended family to seek jobs that pay $300 a month.
Half of the population of the colonia is under age 25. The fertility rate is high, in part because family planning and adolescent health education are an urgent need. Many young mothers fail to get appropriate prenatal care. Childhood malnutrition rates in this area are consistent with the WHO’s profile of malnutrition in Honduras. Formula is very expensive and we find infants being fed with powdered milk often mixed with water of questionable quality and sometimes with Sprite or Coca-Cola.
The Promotora Program
Promotora (which literally means “promoter”) is a community member who volunteers to serve as a liaison between their community and heath care institutions. A Promotora serves as a health educator, patient advocate, mentor, outreach worker, role model and health status monitor.
We currently have ten communities or neighborhoods that we are working with. In each of these communities, we are training selected community leaders as Promotoras. They will act as liaisons between their community and Clinica Esperanza. Their population of focus is children under 5. They will visit the homes of 20 children under the age of five who live in their target area. Dehydration and diarrhea are the leading causes of death in children under 5 years old in developing countries.
At each home visit, the Promotera will weigh the child and plot them on a growth chart to assess for malnutrition. They may see children with diarrhea, cough, or fever, and provide management in accordance with a simple evidence-based checklist on interventions and/or referrals. Additionally, they may discuss the role of diet in growth and development. They will identify and problem-solve regarding barriers to appropriate clinic visits and act as advocates for their clients.
The training and oversight of the Promotora Program fall largely under the direction of the Program Director Dr. Stacy Zuniga. Clinic Volunteers are encouraged to get involved with the Promotora Program by developing training materials for Promotoras or observing them on home visits.
Community Health Outreach
In addition to the Promotora Program, Clinica Esperanza offers community health outreach initiatives. These initiatives include an outreach clinic, vision screenings, health education in schools, hosting health fairs, putting on public education sessions, informational diabetic classes for English and Spanish speakers, among others. Promotoras promote the initiative ahead of time and encourage community members to attend. The Promotora attends and acts as a liaison with the community they live in.
This program was designed to provide for the needs of the community we serve and to offer volunteers the opportunity to understand the community their patients come from. Having this opportunity enriches the volunteer experience and offers learning beyond the scope of an outpatient clinic.