Faith In Practice medical and dental teams travel to Antigua, Guatemala, which is the base for all the teams. All teams volunteer their services for a week, usually traveling from the U.S. on a Saturday and returning on the following Saturday. Teams are divided into a group of health providers who work at the hospital in Antigua and a group which travels to sites and villages in the countryside to provide family practice medicine and dentistry.
Medical and dental professionals working at the Hermano Pedro Hospital and Orphanage for the Poor bring all the supplies they expect to use for performing surgery and post-operative care. On Sunday, all surgery candidates are seen and a surgical schedule is prepared. The remainder of the week is spent in surgery at the hospital.
Family practice teams bring trunks of medicines and supplies, and in the course of treating acute illnesses in the villages often encounter people who need surgical care. These patients are referred to the surgical teams working at the hospital. Often the teams are met with busloads of people hoping to receive medical help.
Dental professionals accompany both the surgical teams and the family practice teams. There is a well-equipped dental clinic at the Hermano Pedro Hospital where general dentistry and extractions are performed and oral hygiene instructions given. Dental professionals who accompany the family practice teams to rural sites concentrate their efforts on pain relief (extractions) and oral hygiene instruction.
The professional relationships that develop between U.S. medical and dental personnel and Guatemalan professionals is an added positive impact of the work Faith In Practice is doing. Every year, Faith In Practice endeavors to present post-graduate type learning experiences to the Guatemalan medical community in Antigua and in Guatemala City. Topics have included ear infections, cancer pain control, ovarian cancer, knee surgery, and hip replacement surgery. Guatemalan surgeons are also invited to the OR in Antigua to learn the latest surgical techniques. Faith In Practice believes developing mutual learning and understanding makes sustainable change possible.
Faith In Practice makes concerted efforts to keep in touch with sister organizations who are working to improve the life and health of the poor in Central America. Much of the needed change that goes beyond any one organization's scope comes about by combining resources, time, knowledge and energy.