Day 3

Today was another busy day! We travelled three hours through mountains lined in coffee plants to arrive at our destination.
 2015-03-18 12.56.02
We met many amazing children and families today, and provided medicine, care and counselling. Many of the children came with acute infections requiring antibiotics or antiparasitics; others had asthma and could go home with ventolin and aerochambers. As the nearest hospital is 3 hours away, asthma treatment is extremely important for children who have this condition. We also saw a few children between the ages of 9-11years old with symptomatic undiagnosed heart disease that we were able to organize cardiology assessment for the first time. We are thankful everyday for all the donations and support we have received that allow us to provide this medicine to these children!
Today we also got the good news from Dr. Mabel Henriquez, our local Honduran doctor who will continue to provide care to the communities after we leave, that the child we sent by ambulance to Gracias from yesterday's clinic is recovering well after his appendectomy! Further, the appointment has been confirmed for the 6 year old girl we saw yesterday with previously undiagnosed cleft palate to see a specialist for repair. It has been truly amazing to be able to contribute to the care of these incredible kids!We are thankful everyday for all the donations and support we have received that allow us to provide this medicine to these children!

Day 2, San Sebastian

2015-03-17 16.28.50 Waking up at the crack of dawn, we split forces and the pediatrics tram left on our 3 hour journey to the town of San Sebastian, Municipalidad de Piraera, Lempira. Meanwhile the oral health team stayed in  Gracias with public health officials and local dentists to develop a risk management program for oral health (see blog post below!!).

2015-03-17 12.57.312015-03-17 12.57.57

On arrival in San Sebastian, we set up shop while the line of children to see grew. Over the course of a busy day, they were assessed and treated for a wide variety of ailments. Some of the interesting children we saw today included a child with acute appendicits who required ambulance to Gracias; an infant with an ear infection actively having a febrile seizure; a child with a loud heart murmur who had not had cardiac assessment before; and a child with previously undiagnosed cleft palate and a congnetial lower limb abnormality.

2015-03-17 11.31.27.  2015-03-17 11.31.14

One of the more striking observations we made today was that the vast majority of the children we saw were severely malnourished, and had significant dental decay.

In all,  131 children were seen by our team today. Off to a good start! Tomorrow we had out again for another full day of clinic.


Successful first day from the Oral Health Team in Gracias!

Today we met with representatives of the public oral health team in Gracias to develop a risk management program intended to improve oral health in school-aged children. The day began by engaging the local team in a dialogue in order to assess local needs of the community, the current state of oral health, and perceived barriers to care. The Honduran dentists identified the relationship between oral health and general health with an emphasis on oral infection and general infection being a common theme. The main barriers to care identified were access and resources. Once these were identified, they prioritized the issues and set specific goals that are measurable, attainable, realistic and timely for this community (“SMART”). With this in mind, the local oral health team created a pilot program whereby supervised tooth brushing will be implemented in primary schools. The “PUFA” oral health evaluative system, which identifies infection, was introduced to the public health team and was accepted with enthusiasm to help determine baseline and outcome impacts of any intervention. This system is best used in countries where decay rates are extremely high (90-99%). P-pulp involvement

U- ulcers




The pilot program will involve 6 members of the oral health team working in different communities. In the next days, hands-on training will occur in the PUFA system and development of educational tools for teachers. Baseline measurements will be compared to future results after the tooth-brushing program is implemented.

We have committed to supply the materials needed to drive this program for 2 years. The mayor of Gracias, who is also a dentist, was an enthusiastic supporter of developing this pilot project and promoting Gracias as a model for affecting cost effective sustainable interventions to improve overall health.


Day 1, 2015 We have arrived! Today our team of 10 journeyed from Toronto to Honduras, landing first in La Ceiba, and then Gracias, which will be our home-base for the remainder of the week. While we waited to take our second flight, we were busy repacking boxes of supplies, generously donated by Health Partners International Canada.

IMG_0001 As an act of community service to their fellow citizens in the Gracias region, the Honduran military aided our mission tremendously today by providing a military transport between La Ceiba and Gracias for ourselves and our medical supplies. We cannot thank them enough for their kindness and generosity!

IMG_0013 copy

We also had the opportunity today to visit the hospital in Gracias, and meet the hospital director, Dr. Naftali Perez. He and his colleagues were excited to show us the autoclave that arrived from our container shipment this year! This piece of equipment will allow for sterilization of necessary surgical equipment. Until this autoclave arrived, they were forced to cancel surgeries.  Dr. Perez and his team gave us a tour of the hospital, emphasizing the difference that the supplies from the container had made for them.

This incubator for infant transport to hospital was donated; as you can see, it is a great improvement on the previous model and has been put to good use! (See picture below)

IMG_0056     IMG_0055

Dr. Gorodzinsky and Dr. Perez, excited about the donated supplies that are benefiting the hospital in Gracias.


After a long day of travel, we are all looking forward to starting clinics tomorrow! As always, we are very thankful to all of you who donated time, money and/or supplies for this mission. Thank you! More tomorrow!

On Our Way!

IMG_1088 Thank you, thank you, thank you! You all really went above and beyond supporting our mission. We made our fundraising goal, and we are on our way to Honduras tomorrow morning! We'll have lots to report when we get back. Stay tuned...

The Container Has Arrived!!

Thank you so much to all those who donated towards helping us to send the container to Gracias. It has been a long long journey but it finally arrived! (see pictures below) We are extremely grateful for all of your support. The team in Honduras were thrilled to get all of the equipment, medication and the new sterilizer. Before the container arrived, all of the surgeries were cancelled because the only sterilizer they had broke down.

The transfer of the container from Puerto Cortez to Gracias was possible due to a very generous donation of Mr Harvey Katz. We were also able to procure many medications due to the generosity of Mr Paul Rutherford from Pharmasave Pharmacy in London, Ontario.

Thank you again so much for your donations, you have made a huge difference and we could not have done it without your generosity and support.

Stay tuned as we start this years mission on March 16th. We will keep you all up to date as to how the mission is going.

Thank you so much,

The 2015 Medical and Dental Team

The container in Gracias

Unloading a donated wheel chair

Unloading the brand new sterilizer

container 7

Unloading new equipment

container 6




Fundraising Update

P3260040 Hello, hello, you beautiful big-hearted people! We are almost 70% of the way to our fundraising goal. So many people have supported our team, and we cannot thank you enough. With March just around the corner, this is the time for those of you who haven't yet had time to donate to get in on the action.

We are gathering the supplies for our mission now, and we need about $3,000 to ensure that we (i) can get the medications we need to treat our little patients in Honduras and (ii) cover the costs of getting them there. As you may know, the safest way for us to transport the medications to Gracias is to bring them with us. That means transporting them from London, Ontario to the airport in Toronto and then from Toronto to Gracias. We can't let evil excess baggage fees stop us, can we?

How do you donate? Click here! Select “other” when choosing where to direct your donation, and specify Honduras Medical and Dental Team, Account 70-410-01. Donations are tax-deductible in Canada.

Thank you so much for all of your encouragement and financial support. It means the world to us and to the tiny people we treat.

Exciting News!

Shipping Containers The shipping container arrived in Honduras on December 24th! The supplies will soon be distributed to the doctors and dentists who are waiting on their arrival in and around Gracias. Although this may seem like a small victory, the logistics of procuring and organizing the supplies, arranging for delivery to the shipment service, and ensuring their safe and secure arrival in Honduras required countless hours of hard work. We especially need to thank Esther, who tirelessly sought out donations and physically prepared the supplies for shipment. We would be lost without her.

We would also be lost without you, our supporters. You made this possible with your contributions. THANK YOU!

Yet, we still have one more goal to reach: getting the medications to bring with us to Gracias in March. (Right around the corner!) We have to bring these ourselves because they are so essential that we can't risk losing them in transport. Given the cost of the medications and baggage fees and strict luggage allowances, this can be a pricey endeavor. That means requesting donations from pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, medical supply companies, and airlines, as well as monetary contributions. Any contribution you can give to help us ensure we have everything we need to treat the children at our clinics would be a huge help. Donations can be made online. Simply select “other” when choosing where to direct your donation, and specify Honduras Medical and Dental Team, Account 70-410-01. Donations are tax-deductible, and you should receive a tax receipt from the London Health Sciences Foundation confirming your donation.

We should have an update on our fundraising efforts and details on a new blog name soon, so check back for more details.

Supplies Shipped!

Because of the generous support of so many of you, we were able to send invaluable medical supplies to Gracias, Honduras this week. Thank you! The supplies en route to Honduras include:

  • A surgical sterilizer
  • Hundreds of tubes of toothpaste
  • Hundreds of toothbrushes
  • Crutches, canes, and walkers
  • Catheters
  • Baby scales and bassinets
  • Hundreds of Aero Chambers for babies and children
  • Sanitary stainless steel waste receptacles
  • 10 IV poles
  • Hundreds of pregnancy tests
  • Hundreds of urine test strips
  • An exam table
  • Face masks
  • Hundreds of baby blankets
  • Hundreds of cloth diapers
  • Chairs for medical offices

The supplies in this shipment will improve the quality of care in the region dramatically.

Our next step is to continue fundraising to ensure we are able to purchase any medications we need to bring with us to Honduras in March for our clinic. We've raised about $6,000 so far, which means we are about $2,600 short of our goal. If you haven't had a chance to contribute, now is the time. Every little bit helps!

Fall Fundraising

It seems like everyone is working on generating support for their cause right now, and we are no different. Many of you have probably received our fundraising letter updating you on our latest efforts. If not, then it's important to know that this year, we are going above and beyond our typical one-week mission (March 2015). Next month, we are sending a tractor-trailer-sized shipping container full of medical and dental supplies to Gracias for use in the local hospital and clinics. Of all of the equipment and supplies the team is sending, we are particularly thrilled to send a $30,000 surgical sterilizer donated to the team. For months, the hospital in Gracias has been cancelling and diverting surgical procedures to other, far-away, hospitals because its sterilizer is unreliable. As you can imagine, the new sterilizer is essential to this community, and you can help us get it there. Families waiting to see the doctors.

The cost of sending such a large shipment to Honduras is substantial—$12,000. We have raised $10,200 to fund the shipment, which leaves a deficit of $1,800 of the funds needed to send this vital equipment. And, because we are investing so much in sending the container, we want to make sure we send as much as possible. We have received many donations, but there are still many things the doctors in Gracias need. In particular, the doctors have requested the following items, which would cost about $1,835 in total.

  •        3 IV Stands: $255.00
  •        5 Sterile steel trash receptacles:  $350.00
  •        10 IUD insertion kits: $390.00
  •        1000 Glucose test strips: $340
  •        500 Pregnancy tests: $500.00

We may also need to purchase as much as $5,000 worth of medication and supplies to take with us in March. This makes the team’s current fundraising goal $8,635.

We donate a week of our time, will you donate the value of an hour of yours to help Honduras' children?

Your contribution can ensure that these communities get the supplies they need. Donations are tax deductible, and can be made online here: Simply select “other” when choosing where to direct your donation, and specify Honduras Medical and Dental Team, Account 70-410-01. You will later receive a tax receipt from the London Health Sciences Foundation confirming your donation.

Thanks in advance for your generous support! Look for an update on our fundraising and planning for next March's mission in the next few weeks.

Future Plans

If you would like to donate to our mission click HERE. Select personal donation and in the 'other' section specify Honduras Medical and Dental Team and the account number 70-410-01.

The beautiful Honduran landscape that we miss!

We've been back from Honduras for two weeks but feels like just yesterday we were there. Once your back in the developed world with all of its comforts and conveiences it is easy to forget what life was like in Honduras. But although we are physically far away, the memories of the beautiful children we met will remain ingrained in our hearts forever. We are determined to not just forget all of our experiences in Honduras and get back to 'normal life.' We want to allow these experiences to permeate our minds and hearts and change how we live our lives on a day to day basis.

Dr. Gorodzinsky treating one of the beautiful babies

 We have already started brainstorming ideas for our next mission. One idea that we have come up with for next year is to send a container and fill it with medication, medical supplies, new equipment and furnishings for all of the public health clinics in the Lempira region of Honduras. We have already been in contact with Feed the Hungry Canada and they have generously offered to help us get some of the equipment/supplies at a discounted price. We are also hoping to raise enough money to send the hospital a new steriliser machine (see blog post titled 2nd Clinic for full the full story so that they never have to worry about not being able to do emergency surgeries.

We are in the process of getting the list of supplies that the Honduras Department of Health needs and once we have the list we can get to work on making the container a reality! We cannot do this without your help though so please contact if you are interested in making a donation (donation instructions at the top of the blog), helping us get some of the equipment or even just want to give us advice!

Thank you readers for all of your heartfelt support, words cannot express how grateful we are!

The 2014 Honduras Medical and Dental Team

Panorama view of landscape

Coincidence, Fate or the Act of a Higher Power?

If you would like to donate to our mission click HERE. Select personal donation and in the 'other' section specify Honduras Medical and Dental Team and the account number 70-410-01

Group picture in front of the school. L-R Wilmer(Dr. Mabel's son who helped us translate), Alisha, Dr. Mabel, Esther, Danielle, Mallory, Dr. Gorodzinsky and Joaquim (our amazing driver)


First of all, we would like to thank all of contributors for the mission. We could not have done it without you. The last week has been insanely busy. We are now back in Canada. But really, the mission never stops. We are already organizing actively for next year!

Sometimes on these missions, things inexplicably fall into place in such a magical way that we are left to wonder if everything is truly just a coincidence or do miracles happen? One of these moment definitely happened during this trip. This was a sad story over all, but we hope that we made a small difference in these children's lives.

I was sitting at my desk, seeing a family of 5 children. From the corner of my eyes though, I could see that Dr. Gorodzinsky was in a sticky situation, to say the least. He had in front of him two absolutely beautiful little boys. They were quite small, and I could not help but eaves drop. To my surprise, the elder was 12 and his younger brother was 7. However, I could not have given them more than 8 and 3 respectively. They obviously had something wrong with them though, because their skin looked quite abnormal, and the elder boy had ulcers around the mouth and his corneas were opaque. He could not see a thing, and the light bothered his eyes.

Dr. Chavannes giving a child treatment to help her breathe better

Their grandfather had brought them to see us. The story was that they had been like this since birth. They had been seen by a dermatologist, but they could not afford creams and therapy for the boys. They tried to help protect their skin from the sun by wearing long brim hats and long clothes. Their mother had abandoned them. Their father was trying to do his best, but he had trouble making ends meet. Their grandfather was quite involved in taking care of them.

Dr. Gorodzinsky and myself looked at each other. "I know what this is, but I do not know how to treat it. It is a rare genetic condition called xenoderma pigmentosum. We should probably take pictures of the boys and send them to a dermatologist in Canada for advice". Dr. Gorodzinsky walked away trying to find someone with an internet connection. But we are in the mountains, far away from the city. There was not even a cellphone network, and no electricity.

As Dr. Gorodzinsky was away, I ended taking pictures of the boys with my camera (not that it would be very useful). I thought to myself it was too bad I had left my iPad at the hotel, because I have some medical books in there that may have been useful... As Dr. Gorodzinsky walked by, I fumbled through my through my phone, looking up randomly at my books. Lord behold, The Herwitz Pediatric Dermatology was not only present on my phone! It was open, at pretty much the most appropriate page!! Can you believe my surprise, as I do not recall ever uploading these books to my iPhone!! And not only that, we read all about Xenoderma Pigmentosum, we also had all the palliating therapies present! Of course, the specific drugs that can sometimes be used (5FU, Retinoic Acid) were not available, but the rest of the recommendations were simple. We had sunscreen, from out own personal stash. We had eye drops to avoid corneal abrasions in the wonderful Health Partner International Canada boxes. We had antibiotic cream for when the ulcerations get infected. We had corticosteroid creams. We could actually help these children.

In a large plastic bag, we put as much medication as these two children could take, so they would have enough supplies for a while. Their grandfather was quite happy to give them some relief. They stayed a little while longer with us, and then went home in the afternoon. Imagine just how perfect everything lined up in order to have these children see us on that day and have our physician know what the disease was and to randomly have the "bible" of paediatric dermatology textbooks on an iPhone opened around the same pages as necessary at the time? This just felt so incredible!'

So it is hard to tell which powers are actually in power when moment like that happen. Whatever it is, we sure hope that the boys will benefit from it for a while and that it made their hearts a little lighter.

Brigada Day

If you would like to donate to our mission click HERE. Select personal donation and in the 'other' section specify Honduras Medical and Dental Team and the account number 70-410-01.

Hola readers! Sorry for the delay in posting, our last two days in Honduras were really busy but so fulfilling and exciting. Our last two clinics in Honduras were definitely the highlights of the trip because our medical, dental and pharmacy teams got to partner with the Honduran physicians, dentists and nurses. We worked together seamlessly and it was such a wonderful experience to be able to collaborate as a multi disciplinary team.

Our entire group after the clinic finished


Our fourth clinic was held in a beautiful village tucked into the base of the mountainside. We arrived with our 'brigada' of three trucks, one SUV and an Ambulance and were warmly welcomed.

School where we would be working that day

The atmosphere in this village was peaceful and the school was beautifully organized to accommodate us. They had a separate room for the Farmacia and for the Clinica Pediatrica and they even had an extra house ready for the Dentista! There were throngs of people waiting so we unpacked our supplies and got straight to work!

People waiting to be seen

One very common complaint that the medical team heard from mothers was that their child won’t eat. Most of the time this was because the child had rotting teeth that were infected and so painful that they weren’t able to eat. Imagine starving not from lack of food, but from not being able to chew your food.

A lot of children suffer from severe dental decay

The dental team was kept very busy and their first port of call was to establish school tooth brushing campaigns for children in grades kindergarten to eight. A tooth brushing campaign involves giving each child a toothbrush and toothpaste and teaching them how to brush their teeth. It also involves encouraging teachers to set aside a specific time each day to monitor tooth brushing. It was amazing to see that something as simple as a toothbrush brought so much joy to the children. A company called Sunstar made  the toothbrushes/toothpaste available at a reduced and were bought and donated by a group of dentists from London Ontario.

Dr. Freidman was handing out toothbrush and explaining to children how to brush their teeth

Needless to say the bulk of dentistry practice in Honduras consists of extractions. However, a new technique called ART (atraumatic restorative treatment) has been proven to be very effective in developing world countries for decreasing the number of extractions. ART involves using tools to scrape out early decay and fill it with a glass ionomer material that sets without water.

local dentist practicing the ART technique

local dentist practicing the ART technique

It was amazing to see the surprise on the children’s faces when they realized they weren’t at the dentist to have their teeth pulled but instead “ARTed”! They were even happier when they got to choose a toy from Dr. Friedmans box of surprises.

Toothbrush is essential for healthcare in Honduras

Overall it was an amazingly successful day, we provided 175 children with free medical and dental care as well as providing them with the medications they needed thanks to our generous sponsors and donors. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped us make this mission an overwhelming success, we couldnt have done it without your help!

Hasta Mañana Readers,

The 2014 Honduras Medical and Dental Team




Meet the Team

If you would like to donate to our mission click HERE. Select personal donation and in the 'other' section specify Honduras Medical and Dental Team and the account number 70-410-01

Honduran Doctors and our team

Dr. Fabian Gorodzinsky – Fearless Leader/Founder/Superman/Pediatrician

Dr Fabian Gorodzinsky

Dr. Gorodzinsky was born in Mexico City and went to medical school at The National Autonomous University of Mexico. He graduated with honors and then went to do an internship in Israel. He then pursued a specialization in pediatrics through residency programs at western university, children hospital and the university of Toronto at the hospital for sick children. He is the founding member of the Honduras Medical and Dental mission, and started going to Honduras to provide medical care since 1998. He is loved by his patient both in Honduras and in London Ontario, where he has a community pediatric practice. His passion and excitement for making a change in the community has made him many friends in Honduras and around the world. It is easy to see the joy on his little patients’ face and the connection he makes with them after their visit.

Esther Kern – Nurse/Pharmacy Team Member/Expert Packer Extraordinaire

Esther Kern preparing medications for our little patients.

Esther is one of the founding members of the Honduras Dental and Medical Mission. This is Esther’s fifteenth year anniversary being married to the mission!! She has a beautiful way with children and is loved by all. Esther has been a nurse at London Health Sciences Science for 32 years. She has worked in Orthopedic Surgery and Trauma, Urology, General Surgery, Clinical Neurosciences and in Rehabilitation. Esther is the backbone to this mission she works the entire year to fill her huge “mission” cupboard with donated medical equipment and supplies for the mission. Esther also takes on the huge responsibility of intricately packing all of our cargo. Without Esther this mission would not happen each year!

Dr. Clive Friedman – Pediatric Dentist/Professor/ Culinary Expert

Dr. Clive Freidman

Dr. Friedman hails all the way from Johannesburg, South Africa and is a Pediatric Dentist. Dr. Friedman went to dental school at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and did his Pediatric specialization in New Orleans. Dr. Friedman has a passion for humanitarian work, which was ignited during dental school when he volunteered in the Transkei region providing free dental care in extremely poor conditions. Dr. Friedman is passionate about delivering sustainable care here in Honduras and focuses on teaching local dentists new procedures. Dr. Friedman works wonders with a toothbrush and can make any child smile (even after extracting their teeth) with his box of surprises! Dr. Friedman is a foodie and a culinary rockstar!

Maureen Prevette – Treatment Coordinator/ Trusty Sidekick/ Adventurist

Maureen with the "lone ranger"

Maureen is a born and bread Londoner and has been a part of the mission for the past five years. She is an essential member of the dental team! Maureen is Dr. Freidman’s dental assistant during the procedures and is also in charge of getting donations and dental supplies. Over the years, Maureen has developed an extensive understanding of Pediatric Dentistry and she goes beyond the call of duty to help poor children in need of dental care. When she’s not improving children’s smiles she’s looking for her next adventure!

Danielle “Muscles” Stampley – Translator/Lawyer/ Pharmacy Team Member

Danielle Stampley

All the way from St. Louis Missouri love brought Danielle to Canada and boy are we thankful it did! Danielle studied law at American University Washington College of Law and graduated top of her class. She is a securities lawyer and worked at one of the top firms in New York City. Danielle is completely fluent in Spanish and has been studying it since middle school. Danielle’s passion for the language is what motivated her to join our team last year. Danielle is crucial to the mission because she is able to explain how to use the medication to the children and their families. Danielle is not afraid to get her hands dirty and is the strongest member of our team by far (she is able to single handedly lift the 50 pound medication boxes with grace and style)!

Dr. Mallory Chavannes - Pediatric Resident/Fearless Food Connoisseur/Photographer/Donation Specialist

Dr. Mallory Chavannes

Dr. Chavannes is a pediatric resident at London Children’s Hospital at Western University. She went to medical school at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec where she grew up. Dr. Chavannes will be returning to Montreal this summer when she starts her fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology at Sainte-Justine Hospital. She is a natural pediatrician—passionate about healing tiny people and wins their hearts as soon as she meets them. Mallory began studying Spanish in elementary school and expertly make diagnoses in French, Spanish, and English. When she is not charming her little patients, she documents the Mission in beautiful photographs and seeks out the most adventurous local cuisine.

Dr. Alisha Gabriel - Pediatric Resident/Techie/Fundraiser Extraordinaire/ Bundle of Joy

Dr. Alisha Gabriel

Dr. Gabriel is the latest addition to our team. She has known from very early on that she wanted to be a pediatrician. She has lived all over the world, from being born in Toronto, then moving to Bermuda in her early childhood. Right after boarding school in Windsor, she left the comfort of Canada to study medicine in Ireland. Her love of infants has brought her to specialize in pediatrics at London Children's Hospital Western University. However, she currently resides in England where she is doing in Masters in Public Health at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Dr. Gabriel is definitely the heart of this mission, and has been moving mountains through fundraising to provide the people of Honduras with the equipment and medicine they needed. Not a day goes by where she does not put a smile on our faces, and this mission would not have been the same without her.

After the diagnosis...

If you would like to donate to our mission click HERE. Select personal donation and in the 'other' section specify Honduras Medical and Dental Team and the account number 70-410-01


The pharmacy installation at the beginning of the day.

If the doctors determine that a child needs medication, they write a prescription and send the child to the room next door (sometimes to the other side of a tarp dividing the room) to get what they need.  We bring boxes of medication packed by Health Partners International and sponsored for this mission by Merck Canada and our generous donors.  Each box contains a variety of medications and vitamins for children, and some things for adults, which we can donate to local clinics.  We also supplement these provisions with additional medications that we know children in Lempira usually need--such as Ventolin, aerochambers for inhalers, Zithromax, Flagyl, and Septra.  Many children here suffer from respitory illness and also infectious colitis, and that is when all these medications come in handy. And that is not counting in Combatrin, which is necessary for deparasitation.

Danielle Stampley, working on preparing medications

Esther Kern preparing medications for our little patients.

When the parents arrive with the prescriptions for their children, Esther and Danielle find and prepare the medications and/or vitamins.  Vitamins are an important part of the program because so many children in the area are malnourished and would benefit strongly from these supplements.

Explaining how to administer the medication.

After the medication is prepared, Esther or Danielle explains to each parent in Spanish how to give the medication to the child.  Sometimes they also give the child the first dose to demonstrate how it's done.  This is especially important for the children with respiratory conditions that require aerochambers. Occasionally, we will also do cauterizations for chronic nose bleeds, clean and dress wounds, and even treat warts. Being in the pharmacy is rewarding because that's where the children get the relief they desperately need.

Dr. Gorodzinsky and Alisha packing up the medications at the end of the day.

Every day, we come in, lay out the medications, and then repack everything at the end of the day. The goal is to give, free of charge, the medication which are needed to as many children as possible. At the end of the trip, our local partners will be able to redistribute the medication to health centres around the province which need them the most.

Tomorrow is a new day! Hopefully the ride this time will not be as bumpy and frightening as today.


Hasta mañana amigos!


Fixing the not so pearly whites

The dental team decided to try a different tack this year in an effort to facilitate sustainability of the dental program when we leave. So, with the help of Carolina Pinel, a public health dentist in Gracias, we organized 3 mornings of training for public health dentists from Gracias and Lepaera. We tailored the lectures to the needs of the dentists and taught them new techniques such as Bush Orthodontics which is a way to straighten the teeth without braces. Some other topics we covered include; Pathology, Communication, Motivational Interviewing, Behaviour, Pulp Therapy, Trauma , Pharmocology, Infant examinations, Risk Assessment and Risk Management. Dr. Freidman teaching local dentists

In the afternoons we saw children in a rehabilitation center called Crile. Crile is non-government, totally dependent on donations and staffed primarily by volunteers. What they are trying to accomplish with their limited resources is mind boggling to North Americans! The equipment is mostly handmade and we continue to be amazed by how resourceful the people of Honduras can be.

Outside the clinic


The children we worked with all had cerebral palsy and were severely malnourished due to difficulty with swallowing and no access to nutritional supplements. Moises, a sweet 9 year old boy, weighed only 19 pounds but had a smile that filled the room. The children are all being cared for in their homes by their mothers, obviously with love but none of the children had ever received dental care and the concern was that infected teeth were contributing to their failure to thrive.

Dr. Friedman with Moses

After we finished doing procedures on the children at Crile we hailed what we thought was a taxi but the Honduran version of a taxi is completely different to a Canadian one! It was quite an adventure getting home but we made it in one piece.

A Honduran taxi


Tomorrow we will be going to a village with 8 of the local dentists in order to give them the opportunity to practice the techniques we taught them at the beginning of the week. Stay tuned for more news!\

If you would like to donate to our mission click HERE. Select personal donation and in the ‘other’ section specify Honduras Medical and Dental Team and the account number 70-410-01

Hasta Mañana readers!


2nd Clinic Los Llanos

It was another early start this morning. We had hearty breakfast of pancakes and fruit and the restaurant even had maple syrup, which was such a treat! Mallory  with maple syrup

We loaded our supplies into the trucks and took off for the village of Los Llanos which was only an hour and a half drive but we had to double up on gravol because the ride was twice as bumpy. I think we spent more time off our seats than on them! We arrived at the school in Los Llanos which was tucked into the beautiful mountainside. We hold our clinics in different schools each day because they are the only buildings large enough to accommodate us. The quality of the buildings vary and we are lucky if there is running water and indoor toilets. Luckily, this school had both, but the multiple wasp nests did not make our job easy.

Group picture in front of the school. L-R Wilmer(Dr. Mabel's son who helped us translate), Alisha, Dr. Mabel, Esther, Danielle, Mallory, Dr. Gorodzinsky and Joaquim (our amazing driver)

Some of the patients waiting for us when we arrived.

The school in Los

Today we were joined by a local Gynecologist Dr. Clara Guevera , who took care of the pregnant women while we were taking care of the children. It was so wonderful to have her expertise and also to see that the ultrasound machine that was donated on last years mission was being put to good use! We were even able to use it to help diagnose this 5 year old girl who had a lump in her neck. The ultrasound machine helped us to see that it was a brachial cyst that needed to be removed.

Dr. Clara using the ultrasound machine to see the branchial cyst

It really makes you realize how lucky we are in North America because we take something like an ultrasound machine for granted. It is expected that every pregnant women gets at least one ultrasound scan whereas in Honduras it is a luxury.

Dr.  Guevera was telling us that she was not able to do C-sections for an entire week because the sterilizer machine in the hospital was broken. Without a sterilizer the surgeons cannot work with clean instruments which makes the risk of intra operative infections very high. Imagine how terrible it would feel not to be able to get a necessary surgery just because the hospital could not afford a new machine. In Canada the machine would be placed instantaneously. Therefore it would be an honour if we could fundraise enough money to buy a sterilizer and send it to them.

Today seems to have been slower in terms of patient volume, but we definitely saw our share of difficult patients. We also heard some very sad stories. For example 7 month old Brianny who was diagnosed at 2 months of age with microcephaly (an abnormally small head). Her mother is 16 years old and only receives support  from her mother. She was quite worried and looking for a cure to Brianny's microcephaly. We were able to look via ultrasound to see the state of her brain. We discovered that she had a lot of fluid, and very little brain left.  We had to explain to her that this is what caused her baby's poor vision and small head. We encouraged her to get blood tests to check for pre-natal infections that could have caused her microcephaly. Needless to say, the ultrasound machine which was donated last year came in quite useful today.

Brianny and her mother

Another medication that was extremely useful was the Nyda (head lice medication) which was generously donated. We saw quite a few children with head lice and we were so glad to have the treatment to offer these children. We heard the heart breaking story of a two year old child named Maria. Maria was brought in by a 13 year old girl who was taking care of her because Maria's mother had abonded her. Maria was severly malnourished (she hadn't gained weight since she was three months old) and she had severe head lice. Luckily, we were able to treat her lice with Nyda, give her some Enfamil formula and give her antibiotics for an intestinal parasite infection which was preventing her from gaining weight.

Maria with her foster mom

After the morning clinic was finished we took a break for lunch which was cooked by a lady named Juana Guardada who lives in Los Llanos. The food was absolutely amazing and her generosity was so touching. We ate a delicious soup made with vegetables, potatoes and Yuca (a potato like food found in Honduras) as well as chicken and tortillas!

Mallory and Dr. Gorodzinsky with the chef Juana

Mallory and Alisha enjoying the Honduran style wild chicken

After we finished the clinic in the afternoon we packed up the pharmacy and all of our supplies and visited the mayor of Los Llanos at the city hall.

Dr. Mabel, Dr. Gorodzinsky and the Mayor in his office

Tomorrow, we continue our adventures and will try to see as many children as we can while we are here. Partnerships with the local health workforce has been essential so far, and we hope that is continues. We are also so grateful to the people who have hosted us in their villages. Their hospitality and generosity has made our experience unforgettable.

Buenas Noche friends and family,

We will have more news quite soon. Please stay tuned for an update about the wonderful things our dental team has been doing here in Gracias.

First clinic: San Rafael, Lempira

Today was definitely a whirlwind! It was a super busy 14 hour day but overall an amazing experience. We woke up this morning at 6am and ate a hearty breakfast before heading to the village of San Rafael. We loaded up our two pick-up trucks with medications and medical supplies and took off into the mountains. This year though is special. On top of having the Honduran governmental logo on our trucks, we now had the pleasure having an additional Canadian logo as well! Our host, Dr. Mabel, proudly showed us the side of the truck this morning, prior to our departure to the first village.

In front of our truck. L-R Mallory, Dr. Mabel, Alisha, Cheryl and Laura (our amazing translators)

At a round 6:30AM,  we piled into the trucks and started our 2 and a half hour journey into the mountains to the village of San Rafael in the region of Lempira. The roads in Honduras are nothing like the roads in North America. They are extremely narrow, steep and not to mention filled with huge pot holes. Imagine the trip, one side of the car staring off of a cliff, and the other side at a mountain side. Needless to say, there is definitely no space for two cars on these roads. Although we only travled about 60 kilometers its took us over two hours beause the truck had to drive slowly in order to avoid oncoming traffic, children on the side of the road, wild dogs, horses, chickens and even fallen electrical wires! It was quite an adventure getting there but the landscapes in the mountains were breath taking. The best part of the trip was arriving, there were so many people waiting that the truck couldn't event drive down the road (see picture below).

The long line of people who were waiting when we arrived in San Rafael

We receved a warm welcome by the mayor of San Rafael who gave a speech thanking us for coming. It is still overwhelming to see that our little gesture makes such a difference to the people of this town. After our welcome, we got straight to work unloading the truck and unpacking the boxes so that we could set up the pharmacy and the  examination room in the local school.

The mayor of San Rafael


Carrying in the medication boxes


It took a little bit of time to arrange logistics of how to set up the pharmacy and the examination area. Good thing the locals were quite helpful in setting up a registration and providing chairs and table to arrange our room. They were quite organized and had already numbered on a first come first serve basis the people who had come as early as at 6am to visit us. When everything was set up, we had barely started seeing children that we heard a rumour that the number to see today would surpass the 100s.

Mallory unpacking the medication boxes

Our wonderful pharmacy superwomen Esther and Danielle


What became even more clear to us was that the children in this city were really sick. Kids with pneumonia, malnutrition and some children with fairly rare conditions were coming our ways. It was heartbreaking at times to not be able to offer much, especially for the children with surgical issues.


Meet this little 3yo boy. He was quite cooperative and quite sweet. His mother explained to us that he was having food coming up to his nose and he ate and drink. It only took one look for us to see that he had a hole on the roof of his mouth from a cleft palate. We will be able to organize for him to see a surgeon in the capital of Tegucigalpa so that it can be repaired.

Little boy with a cleft palate


Meet this adorable 3yo girl. She was born with a rare affliction steaming from a collagen defect. This is called ectodermal dysplasia. She is losing her hair, has sensitive and fair skin and she only has 2 teeth. We will provide this girl with dental assistance from local dentist to make her dentures so that she can eat better.

Little girl with ectodermal dysplasia


Teeth of a patient with ectodermal dysplasia


One of the thing we enjoyed the most though was the integration of local doctors in our mission. They also were seeing patients with us. Their expertise in terms of local resources and common diseases to their population was invaluable! Thank goodness they were present to support our team.

Summary of the day: we saw a total of  220 patients aged newborn to 16. We were able to provide antibiotics for children with respiratory infections and puffers for those with asthma like symptoms. Multiple children benefitted from vitamins, creams for skin infections and analgesic for pain and so on. The medication boxes from Health Partners International, sponsored by Merck Canada and by our generous donors were an essential part of the mission today.

Tomorrow will bring new adventures I am sure. Until then though, we are all more than ready for a well deserved nights rest.

Hasta Luego everyone!!


Oversized Arrival

2 flights, 20 pieces of luggage and 3200 kilometers later we have arrived in Honduras!! We left Toronto in boots and coats which we quickly shed on arrival as the weather was beautiful and warm (~30 degrees Celsius)! It has been quite an adventure getting here but luckily all of our cargo made it safely to the airport in San Pedro Sula. We want to thank Avianca Airlines for generously waiving our over weight luggage fees. Without their help we would not have been able to bring all of our medication boxes! Arrival at San Pedro Sula Airport

We definitely didn't pass unnoticed carting our huge boxes marked with Canadian flags on them !Luckily we breezed through customs and didn't need to open all of the boxes for inspection like they did last year. We were so grateful at how smooth everything went as customs in Honduras can be quite tricky at times.

Danielle loading our boxes at customs

We were welcomed by two locals named Armando and Rigoberto who brought two government pick up trucks for transporting all of our supplies.

Our transportation

They drove us to our lodging in San Pedro Sula which is where we will stay tonight and then make our three hour journey to the city of Gracias tomorrow which will be our headquarters for the next six days. As they say in Honduras Hasta Mañana (until tomorrow)!

The 2014 Medical and Dental Team

Goal Reached!! 103% Donated

The 2014 Honduras Medical and Dental team wants to thank you so much for helping us not only reach but overshoot our goal of raising $5000 for 10 medicine containers. We are so thankful for everyone's overwhelming support and generosity!! Please visit our blog over the next week as we will be writing about our experiences in Honduras as well as sharing photos. Now we have the mamouth task of packing $50,000 worth of medications into 14 suitcases. Wish us luck! We'll be sure to post a photo of   our overweight cargo at the airport!

Thank you again for all of your support!

The 2014 Honduras Medical and Dental Team