Dr. Marco Celada is the Director of the newly opened clinic, part of the Center for Human Development - the University of Colorado's first ever international medical facility.
Dr. Celada is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine at the University of Colorado. He is currently living in the Southwest Trifinio region of Guatemala and has agreed to share with us updates of his work and experiences in his own words.
The new clinic in Guatemala is beautiful. After years of planning and preparation, the new white walls now stand out from the surrounding banana and palm trees. It is impressive to see what the collaboration of the Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health and AgroAmérica have accomplished. There are six clinic rooms, two delivery rooms, one room for the new babies, and a dental clinic. Those together with a clinical and a research laboratory, pharmacy, central nurse station, new computers, and an electronic medical record make the facility look exactly like what everyone hoped it would look like. In this isolated and long abandoned rural area of Guatemala you’ll also find a modern electronic and communications system, with high speed wireless internet throughout the clinic and laboratory. There is also a server linking all computers to a home network, desktop computers and laptops for the use of the staff. It is designed to be a place for excellent patient care that meets the standards of United States medical practices in rural Guatemala.
The goal of the clinic is to impact the health of workers of AgroAmérica and their families. An initial rapid needs assessment of the community showed that some of the biggest challenges to health in the area relate to maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, which is why the clinic has a large focus on pediatrics and maternal health. The clinic was inaugurated March 2014 and opened for business April 2014. It has already impacted the community by decreasing the cost barrier to families, which is important to families that may make only enough to put food on the table and have little left over for anything else. A visit at the clinic is around $5 versus at least $25 at the closest hospital plus the cost of transportation and the loss of a day’s wages. We have seen a wide array of acute complaints ranging from a child whose neck and upper chest were covered with oozing blisters from bullous impetigo to a young man who hobbled in on a left leg likely broken in 2 places from a motorcycle accident.
April 2014 we had our first pediatric resident from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Jake Mark, MD who arrived at the clinic to start his global health rotation. Jake has been a great asset and a much needed resource. His experience here has been truly global. Besides his clinical responsibilities Jake has helped fine tune some of the clinic’s operational procedures, helped to organize the area of pharmacy and meds, sort through hundreds of boxes of donated medical supplies, tested out our electronic records program, Clinical Fusion, just to name a few.
There are many challenges ahead. However, seeing what the collaboration between the Center for Global Health and AgroAmérica has already accomplished, it is exciting to think of the possibilities we have here to improve the health of not just our community but also to create an innovative health model that can be replicated around the world.