WIU students get an educational opportunity through spring break tour to Ecuador

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Students from the Department of Social Work and School of Nursing from Western Illinois University took part in an educational spring break tour. The group comprised of seven scholars from nursing, two faculty members and one from social work. They toured the city of Quito, Ecuador in March.

During the excursion, the scholars visited public and private hospitals, an organic farm, a college campus and hosted a health exposition at Pan de Vida, an aid agency in Ecuador founded by WIU alumnus Oscar Aguirre. Michaela Leapley, a WIU junior nursing scholar, said the expedition provided a remarkable chance to learn how native inhabitants of Ecuador manage health care.

Public health facilities differ from the private ones

Leapley explained how one woman rubbed individuals with eggs to get rid of bad energy. Another method was the use of guinea pig to detect health problems. The students were perplexed by the disparity in private and public hospitals in Ecuador which has a high rate of poverty. Leapley said the public hospitals had outdoor waiting chambers and large masses of patents in the hallways with insufficient air conditioning. The private health facilities were beautiful with amazing views and infusion chambers with mountain views. The difference is that service in public clinics is free whereas in private, it is not.

The health fair gave residents an opportunity for a checkup

The Pan de Vida health exposition, which was run by the scholars, attracted more than two hundred people for health checks. The exhibition was initiated by Aguirre and his spouse, Lori, in 2000 as a religious foundation to provide the basic requirements of people dwelling in poverty.

Aguirre has a master in economics from WIU. Jenna Bryan, a WIU junior nursing scholar, said they were astonished by the health state of some of the residents who came to the fair. A lady went to the health fair with a glucose level of 490. Bryan said they were able to provide her with medication with the funds they set for the event.

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