Andrea Suarez, MD is a resident on the Global Health Pathway in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. She traveled 4 weeks in January of 2020 to Mimoso do Sul, a municipality located in the state of Espírito Santo in Brazil.
She volunteered in a small community hospital and clinic that serve Mimoso do Sul, a town with a population of about 27000, and surrounding neighborhoods. Most common conditions seen there included chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension as well as infectious diseases such as dengue, Chagas and other parasitic diseases. About three days per week, she rotated with different primary care physicians in the areas of internal medicine, pediatrics and women’s health in the clinic. Also, she participated in community outreach initiatives in order to provide more healthcare services to rural communities. She was able to spend at least 2 days in the community doing home visits with a physician, nurse and community health worker to follow up of chronic medical conditions and do pediatric preventive visits. In addition, she participated in temporary walk-in clinics and health fairs with an emphasis in patient education and preventive care.
Another great experience was learning more about the use of traditional medicine including the use of herbal medicine. Near the clinic, there was a small market where most patients could buy medicinal plants. There was a huge variety plants and these were very affordable for the most part. A few examples she observed while on her rotation included the use of Pesuña de vaca (Bauhinia forficate), a type of plant that can be taken as an infusion and appears to help with diabetes management and Mulungu (Erythrina mulungu), a plant which seems to help with anxiety and insomnia.
Published: October 2020