The long distance from Maracaibo to Barranquitas, fuel shortages, temperatures of over 40 °C, and the risks of a lonely, battered road, were not an obstacle for a group of 32 volunteers to arrive in Barranquitas, on Saturday, May 21st, with their hands full of hope and joy. There, in Barranquitas, 20 volunteers from the community and other Habitat LUZ/Factor-H collaborators, joined them to complete a great team that, with determination, dedication, and a lot of commitment, were able to carry out 2 very important activities for the town and for the Huntington program: a project of Hope…
Medical Health Care
The first activity, planned to be every three months in San Luis and Barranquitas, was a Comprehensive and Holistic Medical Health Care, for people with Huntington’s Disease (HD) and children between 3 and 12 years of age and at-risk of HD, that belong to our Program “Abrazos”.
The team was composed of 1 psychiatrist, 3 psychiatry residents and 2 neurologists that were able to tend to 51 adults with manifest HD, 5 of whom were seen at home due to their disability. On the other hand, the exceptional pediatric care, comprised of a team made up of 1 Neuropediatrician, 1 pediatrician, 1 pediatric resident, and 1 psychiatrist, managed to tend to, with the support of a medical assistant, a total of 71 kids at-risk for HD. Follow-up psychology consultations were also carried out for 2 children and 6 adolescents who are part of this program and who have received personalized attention for about 8 months.
For this medical activity, a temporary pharmacy provided, free of charge, medication and nutritional supplements for children and adults, giving 118 prescriptions for an average of 3 medicines per patient, for various ailments. In addition, there was a nursing station for taking blood pressure, temperature, and weight, both for adults and children.
To complement the medical activity, 2 volunteers offered a free hairdressing service for children and patients with HD, managing to serve around 50 people.
The second activity of the day was the presentation to the community of Barranquitas of “Casa Dignidad“, a day care center project designed by Habitat LUZ and students from the California University Cal Poly Pomona. All members of the community were invited – businessmen, governments, community organizations, civil organizations, religious organizations, among others – as well as families from the HD community of Barranquitas, La Villa del Rosario, and other parts of Zulia state. A total of 80 people participated in the presentation, which generated full support from those present and who expressed their personal interest in spreading the news of the project among the community, so that they know of its importance. Other meetings will soon be held in the town and also to the local municipal government, in order to gain support to make this beautiful project a reality that will not only benefit the almost 200 families in Barranquitas currently affected by the disease, but also the entire community by offering options to support patients and their families.
Different security and biosecurity measures were put in place to protect the volunteers, collaborators, and the local community.
All this was possible thanks to the support of volunteers from the Postgraduate Psychiatry Department of the University of Zulia, the Zulia Chapter of Neurology, the University Hospital of Maracaibo, and of the “El Renacer”, a Barranquitas Church, which also lent their facilities and volunteers for the entire event; and, our wonderful team of collaborators from San Luis, Maracaibo, and Barranquitas who organized the activity with much care and love for several weeks prior to the event.